Sunday, April 18, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2117 (starts 4/19/21)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/366186-pe-2117 


    This week we have an unusually high number of medleys and artists' sets, with the emphasis on bands from San Francisco. This includes three tracks from the most successful LP of 1968, Cheap Thrills, from Big Brother And The Holding Company, one of the "suites" from Jefferson Airplane's most psychedelic LP, After Bathing At Baxters, and an entire half hour segment of Grateful Dead tracks. We also have our third Beatles set in three weeks, featuring yet another medley. That leaves a bit less time than usual for other stuff, but we still manage to fit no less than four songs that have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before, including a pair of seldom-heard B sides from the Kinks and the Weeds. Speaking of B sides, the show itself gets underway with one of the best...

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    CD: The Doors
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Ever feel like you've discovered something really special that nobody else (among your circle of friends at any rate) knows about? At first you kind of want to keep it to yourself, but soon you find yourself compelled to share it with everyone you know. Such was the case when, in the early summer of 1967, I used my weekly allowance to buy copies of a couple of songs I had heard on the American Forces Network (AFN). As usual, it wasn't long before I was flipping the records over to hear what was on the B sides. I liked the first one well enough (a song by Buffalo Springfield called Do I Have To Come Right Out And Say It, the B side of For What It's Worth), but it was the second one, the B side of the Doors' Light My Fire, that really got to me. To this day I consider The Crystal Ship to be one of the finest slow rock songs ever recorded.

Artist:    Human Beinz
Title:    Close Your Eyes
Source:    Australian import CD: Evolutions
Writer(s):    Jim Murray
Label:    Ascension (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Youngstown, Ohio, was the home of vocalist/guitarists Dick Belley and Ting Markulin, bassist/vocalist Mel Pachuta,  and drummer Gary Coates, who formed a band called the Premiers in 1964. By 1966 they had replaced Coates with Mike Tatman, changed their name to the Human Beingz and released their first single, a cover of the Who's My Generation for the local Elysian label. Around that same time they also recorded a cover of Gloria for the Pittsburgh-based Gateway label that actually predated the more popular Shadows of Knight version of the Van Morrison classic. In 1967 they signed with Capitol Records, who, without input from the band members, changed the spelling of the group's name to Human Beinz, promising to change it back if the band's first single for the label didn't catch on. However, the single, a cover of the Isley Brothers' Nobody But Me, did indeed catch on, and the name change became permanent. The Human Beinz ended up releasing two LPs for Capitol. The first of these was much in the same vein as their previous work, containing a mixture of cover songs and tunes written by their producer, Alexis de Azevedo, along with a pair of original songs from band members. Determined to create something more memorable, the group released Evolutions, a much more experimental album, in 1968. Although not a top seller by any means, the album contains several gems, such as Close Your Eyes, which bears more than a passing resemblance to some of the tunes on Love's Forever Changes album. Following the release of Evolutions, the Human Beinz stayed together long enough to complete a tour of Japan (where they had three #1 singles) before disbanding in 1969.

Artist:    Lighthouse
Title:    Never Say Goodbye
Source:    LP: Lighthouse
Writer:    P. Hoffert/B. Hoffert
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
     Lighthouse was formed in Toronto in 1968 by vocalist/drummer Skip Prokop (formerly of the Paupers) and keyboardist/arranger Paul Hoffert. The idea was to combine a rock rhythm section with R&B-style horns and classical-style strings. The first move they made was to recruit guitarist Ralph Cole, whom the Paupers had shared a bill with in New York. The three of them then went about recruiting an assortment of friends, studio musicians and members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, making a demo tape and submitting it to M-G-M records, who immediately offered Lighthouse a contract. The band's manager, however, was able to get a better contract from RCA, and the group set about recording their first album, making their stage debut in Toronto in May of 1969. Among the original 13 members of the band were lead vocalist Vic "Pinky" Davin and saxophonist Howard Shore (who would become the leader of the house band for NBC's Saturday Night Live when that TV show made its debut in 1975). The group managed to record two albums that year, their eponymous debut album and the follow-up Suite Feeling. Both albums were recorded at Toronto's Eastern Sound Studio and released on the RCA Victor label in 1969. Although the group scored a couple of minor hits in their native Canada, they were not able to achieve commercial success in the US, and, after a third LP for RCA, changed labels to GRT, where (after several personnel changes, including lead vocals) they managed to chart two top 40 singles, One Fine Morning and Sunny Days, in 1971 and 1972. Never Say Goodbye, from the first Lighthouse album, is a good example of just how the band was able to combine jazz, rock and classical styles into a single song.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Combination Of The Two
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
     Everything about Big Brother And The Holding Company can be summed up by the title of the opening track for their Cheap Thrills album (and their usual show opener as well): Combination Of The Two. A classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, Big Brother, with Janis Joplin on lead vocals, had an energy that neither Joplin or the band itself was able to duplicate once they parted company. On the song itself, the actual lead vocals for the verses are the work of Combination Of The Two's writer, bassist Sam Houston Andrew III, but those vocals are eclipsed by the layered non-verbal chorus that starts with Joplin then repeats itself with Andrew providing a harmony line which leads to Joplin's promise to "rock you, sock you, gonna give it to you now". It was a promise that the group seldom failed to deliver on.

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:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Piece Of My Heart
Source:     LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer:     Ragovoy/Burns
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
     By 1968 Big Brother and the Holding Company, with their charismatic vocalist from Texas, Janis Joplin, had become as popular as fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Somehow, though, they were still without a major label record deal. That all changed with the release of Cheap Thrills, with cover art by the legendary underground comix artist R. Crumb. The album itself was a curious mixture of live performances and studio tracks, the latter being led by the band's powerful cover of the 1966 Barbara Lynn tune Piece Of My Heart. The song propelled the band, and Joplin, to stardom. That stardom would be short-lived for most of the band members, however, as well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed advice-givers convinced Joplin that Big Brother was holding her back. The reality was that the band was uniquely suited to support her better than anyone she would ever work with again.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    She's My Girl
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    A favorite among the Turtles' members themselves, She's My Girl is full of hidden studio tricks that are barely (if at all) audible on the final recording. Written by Gary Bonner and Al Gordon, the same team that came up with Happy Together, the song is a worthy follow up to that monster hit.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    Auntie Mary's Dress Shop
Source:    European import CD: Tomorrow
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1968
    Sometime in the early to mid 1960s there was a band called the Teenbeats that included Ken Burgess on guitar and Keith Hopkins on bass, and later, vocals. The two of them began writing songs together, even after Hopkins became lead vocalist for a new group called Four + One that also included Les Jones on guitar, John "Junior" Wood on bass and John "Twink" Adler on drums. At the time, Motown and Stax recordings were particularly popular among British teens, and bands like Four + One made their living performing those and other current hit songs in local dance clubs. In 1964, after Jones had been replaced by Steve Howe on guitar, Four Plus One was signed to EMI's Parlophone label, releasing their first single, a cover of Time Is On My Side, on January 1, 1965. It was around this time that the band changed its name to The In Crowd and Hopkins started calling himself Keith West. The In Crowd the band released three more singles (all cover songs) that year, and in 1966 recorded a pair of songs for use in a nightclub sequence for the film Blow Up. Those recordings were shelved when the film's director, Michelangelo Antonioni, managed to get the Yardbirds (who had just added studio whiz Jimmy Page to the lineup) to appear in the scene instead. Throughout this period Hopkins and Burgess continued to develop their songwriting skills, and in early 1967 the band decided to start performing their songs, changing its name to Tomorrow and becoming, along with Soft Machine and the Pink Floyd, one of the premier British psychedelic bands. That spring, the group began working on an album that was made up entirely of Hopkins/Burgess originals, including the single My White Bicycle, which was released in May of 1967. In September a second Tomorrow single, Revolution, appeared, but the album itself was delayed until February of 1968, by which time the British psychedelic era (which was considerably shorter than its American counterpart) was already becoming a memory. The album was a commercial failure, but has in more recent years come to be recognized as one of the finest examples of British psychedelia ever recorded. The songs themselves vary from the intensity of My White Bicycle to the more whimsical Auntie Mary's Dress Shop, which is about as British a song as you'll find on a psychedelic record.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Sugar Magnolia
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: American Beauty)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Weir
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:     1970
            One of the most popular songs in the Grateful Dead catalog, Sugar Magnolia also has the distinction of being the second-most performed song in the band's history, with 596 documented performances. The song, written by Robert Hunter and Bob Weir, first appeared on the 1970 album American Beauty, but was not released as a single. A live version two years later, however, did see a single release, charting in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    That's It For The Other One/New Potato Caboose/Born Cross-Eyed
Source:    LP: Anthem Of The Sun
Writer(s):    Garcia/Kreutzmann/Lesh/McKernan/Weir/Constanten
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1968
    After completing their first album in three days, the Grateful Dead decided to take their time with the 1968 follow-up release. The band began recording at  American Studios in North Hollywood, but soon found themselves in New York, where they had their first experience with state-of-the-art eight track recording equipment. Naturally, the band wanted to explore the possibilities that were available with the new technology, which eventually led to producer Dave Hassinger resigning from the project in frustration (reportedly the last straw being Bob Weir's quest to capture the sound of "thick air"). With about a third of the album completed the band decided that the material needed to be road tested and scheduled a series of west coast appearances before heading back to San Francisco to continue work on the album at Coast Recorders. The band made recordings of these performances, interlacing them with the existing studio tracks and adding overdubs as needed. Among these overdubs were the contributions of Tom Constanten, who provided piano, prepared piano and electronic tape effects. As originally mixed, each album side was one continuous track, with no breaks between songs. Side one of Anthem Of The Sun consists of three compositions: That's It For The Other One, New Potato Caboose, and Born Cross-Eyed. In order to score more royalty points, however,That's It For The Other One was broken down into several subsections on the album cover. The album was completed later in 1968 and released by Warner Brothers Records, whose president, Joe Smith, called it "the most unreasonable project with which we have ever involved ourselves". Four years later, band members Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh decided to revist the project, remixing the entire album and reissuing it with the original catalog number. Subsequent releases of the LP and cassette used the 1972 remix, but when the CD version of Anthem Of The Sun came it, it used the original mix. The latest LP release of Anthem Of The Sun was in 2014, remastered on 180 gram vinyl using the original 1968 mix.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Uncle John's Band
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Workingman's Dead)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    For many people who only got their music from commercial radio, Uncle John's Band was the first Grateful Dead song they ever heard. The tune, from the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, was the first Dead song to crack the top 100, peaking at #69, and got significant airplay on FM rock radio stations as well. The close harmonies on the track were reportedly inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose debut album had come out the previous year.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    She's Got Everything
Source:    CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although recorded in 1966 at sessions for the Face To Face LP, She's Got Everything was shelved until 1968, when the Kinks released it as the B side of Days, one of many singles on the Reprise label that went virtually unnoticed in the US. After the Kinks signed a five-album deal with RCA Victor in 1971, Reprise compiled a double LP collection of Kinks recordings from 1966-1971 called The Kink Kronikles that included, for the first time, a stereo mix of She's Got Everything. The song itself is a deliberate throwback to the band's early sound.

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

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Abbey Road Medley #1
Source:    CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1969
    Much of the second side of the last album to be recorded by the Beatles, Abbey Road, is taken up by (depending on whose view you take) either one long medley or two not-quite-so-long medleys of songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Personally I take the former view, as there is just a bit too much quiet space at the end of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window for me to consider it linked to the next song, Golden Slumbers. Regardless, the whole thing starts with You Never Give Me Your Money, a Paul McCartney composition reputed to be a jab at the band's second (and last) manager, Allen Klein. This leads into three John Lennon pieces, Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam, ending finally with another McCartney piece, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, a song with nonsense lyrics and a title inspired by a real life break-in by an overzealous fan.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Between The Buttons)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    One of the most durable songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Ruby Tuesday was originally intended to be the B side of their 1967 single Let's Spend The Night Together. Many stations, however, balked at the subject matter of the A side and began playing Ruby Tuesday instead.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Paper Sun
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Silver Spotlight (original 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 remained).

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Lilith (original US 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:    Weeds
Title:    Little Girl
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Behemoth (original label: Teenbeat Club)
Year:    1966
    The Weeds were formed in La Vegas in 1966 by Fred Cole (lead vocals), Eddie Bowen (guitar), Ron Buzzell (guitar), Bob Atkins (bass guitar), and Tim Rockson (drums). Cole had already established himself as a recording artist with other local bands that played at the Teenbeat Club (thought to be the first teens-only club in the US) in Paradise, a Las Vegas suburb, and it wasn't long before the Weeds released It's Your Time on the club's own record label. Not long after the single was released the band drove to San Francisco, where they had been promised a gig at the Fillmore Auditorium, but when they arrived they discovered that no one there knew anything about it. Rather than return to Las Vegas, the Weeds decided to head north for Canada to avoid the draft, but they ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon, and soon became part of that city's music scene. Cole would eventually become an indy rock legend with his band Dead Moon, co-founded by his wife Toody, herself a Portland native.

Artist:    Limey And The Yanks
Title:    Guaranteed Love
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Reed/Paxton
Label:    Rhino (original label: Star-Burst)
Year:    1966
    Limey and the Yanks were an Orange County, California band that boasted an honest-to-dog British lead vocalist. Despite being kind of Zelig-like on the L.A. scene, they only recorded two singles. The first one, Guaranteed Love, was co-written by Gary Paxton, best known for his involvement in various novelty records, including the Hollywood Argyles' Alley Oop, which he co-wrote with Kim Fowley, and Bobby "Boris" Pickett's Monster Mash, which was released on Paxton's own Garpax label.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Bony Moronie
Source:    LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer(s):    Larry Williams
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The history of rock and roll is filled with one-hit wonders. Less common, however, are groups than managed to crack the upper reaches of the charts a second time, only to suffer diminishing returns with each subsequent effort. Such was the case with the Cyrkle, who burst on the scene with Red Rubber Ball and Turn Down Day in 1966. Originally a frat-rock band called the Rhondells, the group's fortunes turned in a big way on Labor Day of 1965, when New York attorney Nathan Weiss caught their gig in Atlantic City. Weiss in turn recommended the band to his business partner, Brian Epstein, who was looking for an American band to manage (I guess the Beatles weren't enough for him). Epstein renamed the band the Cyrkle (John Lennon providing the variant spelling) and set them up as the opening band for the Beatles' last US tour, including their final gig at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966. Along the way, the group signed with Columbia Records, recording two LPs and several singles for the label before disbanding in early 1968. The first album, Red Rubber Ball, was a solid example of sunshine pop, as evidenced by the band's unique arrangement of Larry Williams's Bony Moronie. Two of the band's members, Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes, went on to become successful jingle writers (Dannemann wrote the original Un-Cola song while Dawes came up with "Plop plop fizz fizz" for Alka-Seltzer. The other two members became successful in other fields; one, Marty Fried is a bankruptcy attorney and the other, Earl Pickens, is a surgeon.
 
Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     How Suite It Is
Source:     LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer(s):     Kantner/Casady/Dryden/Kaukonen
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1967
     The second side of After Bathing At Baxters starts off fairly conventionally (for the Airplane), with Paul Kantner's Watch Her Ride, the first third or so of something called How Suite It Is. This leads (without a break in the audio) into Spare Chaynge, one of the coolest studio jams ever recorded, featuring intricate interplay between Jack Casady's bass and Jorma Kaukonen's guitar, with Spencer Dryden using his drum kit as enhancement rather than as a beat-setter. In particular, Casady's virtuoso performance helped redefine what could be done with an electric bass.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2117 (starts 4/19/21)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/366183-dc-2117 


    This week, in celebration of Earth Day, we take a look back at some of the earliest songs to show an awareness of environmental issues. The first set is pretty straightforward, with Joni Mitchell's original studio version of Big Yellow Taxi setting the tone. Our second set is more speculative, with songwriters like Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young letting their imaginations run wild. We wrap up the show with a 13-minute long version of Memphis Slim's classic Mother Earth, from the album Eric Burdon Declares War. Here's the complete lineup:

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

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Nature's Way
Source:    CD: Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer:    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    Nature's Way is one of the best-known and best-loved songs in the Spirit catalog. Originally released on the 1970 LP Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, the song was finally issued as a single in 1973, long after lead vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes had left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne.

Artist:    Marvin Gaye
Title:    Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Source:    LP: What's Going On
Writer(s):    Marvin Gaye
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1971
    No show celebrating Earth Day would be complete without Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). Released as the second single from the 1971 LP What's Going On, the song is considered one of Marvin Gaye's greatest songs and an anthem of the environmental movement.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Eskimo Blue Day
Source:    CD: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Slick/Kantner
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1969
    Jefferson Airplane's sixth LP, Volunteers, was by far their most socio-political album, from the first track (We Can Be Together, with its famous "up against the wall" refrain) to the last (the song Volunteers itself). One of the more controversial tracks on the 1969 album is Eskimo Blue Day, which describes just how meaningless human concerns are in the greater scheme of things with the repeated use of the phrase "doesn't mean shit to a tree". Eskimo Blue Day was one of two songs from Volunteers performed by the Airplane at Woodstock.

Artist:    Queen
Title:    The Prophet's Song
Source:    LP: A Night At The Opera
Writer(s):    Brian May
Label:    Virgin (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1975
    When Queen's landmark LP, A Night At The Opera, was released in 1975, much attention was focused on the album's penultimate track, Freddy Mercury's Bohemian Rhapsody, which went all the way to the top of the British top 40 charts and is one of the most recognizable recordings of the 20th century. With all this attention focused on one song (albeit deservedly), several other outstanding tracks on the album have been somewhat neglected. Perhaps the best of these overlooked tracks is The Prophet's Song, a Brian May composition that opens side two of the vinyl LP. At over eight minutes in length, The Prophet's Song is Queen's longest song with vocals, and, like Bohemian Rhapsody, features layered overdubs by Mercury, including a fairly long acappella section in the middle of the track. The song also has powerful dynamics, ranging from the almost inaudible acoustic guitar and toy koto introduction to high volume electric lead guitar work set against a heavy metal background. As if that were not enough, The Prophet's Song also has a powerful message, making it one of Queen's most important works.

Artist:    Zager And Evans
Title:    In The Year 2525
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Rick Evans
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    Since the advent of rock and roll in the 1950s there have been literally hundreds of one-hit wonders, artists who had one fairly big hit and then faded off into the background. Usually these artists recorded one or more a follow-up records that got minor airplay (and sometimes even major airplay in a limited number of markets), but were not successful enough to make a long-term career of it. A few of them get cited as the "ultimate" one-hit wonder, but for my money the title undisputedly belongs to folk-rockers Zager And Evans. The reason I say this is because they were more extreme than any other one-hit wonders, both in their success and their subsequent failures. The success part is impressive: In The Year 2525 spent six weeks in the number one spot on the US charts and finished second only to the 5th Dimension's Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In for the entire year 1969. Their subsequent failures were equally impressive: not only did they fail to crack the top 40 charts again, they couldn't even make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making them the only artists in history to have a #1 hit without ever making another chart appearance.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) from the Electric Ladyland album is the longest work created purely in the studio by Jimi Hendrix, with a running time of over 16 minutes. The piece starts with tape effects that lead into the song's main guitar rift. The vocals and drums join in to tell a science fiction story set in a future world where the human race has had to move underwater in order to survive some unspecified catastrophe. After a couple verses, the piece goes into a long unstructured section made up mostly of guitar effects before returning to the main theme and closing out with more effects that combine volume control and stereo panning to create a circular effect. As is the case with several tracks on Electric Ladyland, 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) features Hendrix on both guitar and bass, with Mitch Mitchell on drums and special guest Chris Wood (from Traffic) on flute.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    After The Gold Rush
Source:    CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Once upon a time Dean Stockwell and Herb Bermann wrote a screenplay for a movie to be called After The Gold Rush. Neil Young read the script and decided that he wanted to do the soundtrack for the film, which Stockwell described as "sort of an end-of-the-world movie. I was gonna write a movie that was personal, a Jungian self-discovery of the gnosis... it involved the Kabala (sic), it involved a lot of arcane stuff." The movie was never made, and even the script is now long lost. However, Young did manage to write a couple of songs for the film, including the title track itself, which became the title track of his third album. The song itself describes a dream vision about the past, present and future of earth's environment. Young still performs After The Gold Rush, although he has updated one of the song's most famous lines ("Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s") by replacing the words "the 1970s" with "the 21st century".

Artist:    Eric Burdon And War
Title:    Blues For Memphis Slim
Source:    LP: Eric Burdon Declares "War"
Writer(s):    War/Peter Chapman
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1970
    "When the acid trip is over, you've got to come back to Mother Blues." Eric Burdon's ad-libbed line from the track Blues From Memphis Slim, pretty much sums up the state of the former Animals lead vocalist's career as of 1970. The original Animals had been founded with the blues in mind, with the band members, including Burdon, preferring the cover tunes of artists like John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed featured on their albums to the hit singles provided to the band by their producer, Mickey Most. Finally, in 1966, the group officially disbanded, just as Burdon was discovering the mind-expanding qualities of hallucinogenic substances (he had been a hard drinker up to that point). In early 1967 Burdon formed a "New Animals" that would soon come to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals. This band had little in common with the original Animals (other than Burdon's distinctive vocals), and was, by any measure, pure acid rock. But after a couple of albums, even that group started to change, taking on more of an R&B sound with tracks like their extended version of River Deep, Mountain High. Finally, in 1969, this group disbanded as well, leaving Burdon and his producer, Jerry Goldstein, looking for a new band and a new sound for the singer. They found it in a Los Angeles nightclub, where a band called Nightshift was backing up former football star Deacon Jones. Burdon and Goldstein persuaded the multi-racial band to change their name to War, and got to work on an album called Eric Burdon Declares "War". The album featured mostly suites such as Blues For Memphis Slim, which was built around the bluesman's classic Mother Earth, with several added instrumental sections composed by the band. At thirteen and a half minutes, it is the longest track on the album. After a second album with the group (The double-LP The Black Man's Burdon), Eric Burdon left the group, leaving War to become one of the more popular bands of the 1970s.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2116 (starts 4/12/21)

https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/365414-pe-2116


    This week's show begins with the longest single set ever heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. From there, we continue to experiment with set lengths and song lengths, including a nearly ten minute long hit from Grand Funk Railroad and a late period Beatles set.

 Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, its local success predating that of the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Who's Driving Your Plane
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side (mistitled on the label as Who's Driving My Plane) of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.
 
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Purple Haze
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Following up on the success of their first UK single, Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released Purple Haze in early 1967. The popularity of the two singles (released only in Europe) led to a deal with Reprise Records to start issuing the band's material in the US. By then, however, the Experience had already released Are You Experienced without either of the two hit singles on it. Reprise, hedging their bets, included both singles (but not their B sides), as well as a third UK single, The Wind Cries Mary, deleting several tracks from the original version of Are You Experienced to make room for them.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful (live version)
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    When Atco decided to release Fresh Cream in the US they chose to replace the longest song on the original 1966 British album, a cover of Willie Dixon's Spoonful, with I Feel Free, which was simultaneously released as a single in January of 1967. Because of this change, most American listeners had never heard Cream perform the song until the album Wheels Of Fire was released in 1968. The double LP album featured new studio tracks on the first two sides, and live recordings made at two of San Francisco's most famous concert venues on the other two. The longest of the four live tracks was a sixteen and a half long version of Spoonful recorded at the Winterland Ballroom (although the label reads "Live at the Fillmore"). Cream had already achieved legendary status for their ability to improvise on stage, but none of their studio recordings had reflected that aspect of the group. The live version of Spoonful heard on Wheels Of Fire quickly became an underground FM radio staple and has been considered the definitive Cream "jam" song ever since.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I Love Everybody
Source:    LP: Second Winter
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Following the success of Johnny Winter's self-titled Columbia debut LP, the guitarist went to work on a followup LP with a slightly expanded lineup. In addition to future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, the group featured Winter's brother Edgar on keyboards. When it came time to set the final track lineup, however, they realized they had recorded more material than they could fit on a standard LP, but not enough for a double album. Not wanting to leave any of the material they had recorded off the album, they decided to release Second Winter as a three-sided LP (the fourth side being left totally blank). Although not a conventional solution, a listen to tracks like I Love Everybody (which opens side three of the LP) shows that it was totally justified.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Source:    LP: Cosmo's Factory
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Stong
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1970
    Creedence Clearwater Revival were known for their tight arrangements of relatively short songs at a time when album tracks, as a general rule, were getting longer and longer. Still, there are exceptions; the most obvious of these was their cover of Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through The Grapevine on their 1970 LP Cosmo's Factory. At slightly over eleven minutes, Grapevine is CCR's longest studio recording. Despite this, according to bassist Stu Cook, the song was performed in the studio exactly as planned, with "no room for noodling". Although not a major top 40 hit, I Heard It Through The Grapevine has proved to be one of CCR's most enduring tracks, still getting occasional airplay on classic rock radio.

Artist:    Full Tilt Boogie Band
Title:    Buried Alive In The Blues
Source:    CD: The Pearl Sessions (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Writer(s):    Nick Gravenites
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Full Tillt Boogie Band was formed in the late 60s as a side project by New York studio guitarist John Till. All the members, including Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson were Canadian citizens, mostly hailing from the province of Ontario. In 1969, Till, along with several other studio musicians, were tapped to become Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band, backing up the vocalist on her solo debut album. Joplin, however, was not entirely comfortable with all the members of this new band, and after the album itself got mostly negative reviews from critics and fans alike, Joplin decided to disband the group, keeping only Till. Till then convinced her to use the Full Tilt Boogie Band (dropped the second "L" in Tillt) for her next album, Pearl. The new combo started touring in the spring of 1970, beginning work on the album itself that September. At the time of Joplin's sudden death on October 4, 1970, the band had completed all the basic tracks for the album; only one song, Buried Alive In The Blues, lacked a usable vocal track. Although Nick Gravenites, the Electric Flag veteran who had written the tune, offered to provide vocals for the track, the band decided to keep it an instrumental instead.

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:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    I'm Your Captain
Source:    CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    I first switched from guitar to bass during my junior year in high school, when I joined a band that already had a much better guitarist than I was, but no bass player. Like Noel Redding, I started by using an old acoustic guitar with a pickup, turning the tone control to its lowest setting. It wasn't until spring that I finally got an actual bass to play (a Hofner Beatle that I paid the German equivalent of $90 for at a small local music shop). The band itself was modeled on early power trios like Cream and Blue Cheer, which basically meant that I was playing pseudo leads in the lower register, hopefully in some sort of counterpoint to what the lead guitarist was playing. It wasn't until I returned to the States and hooked up with a band that had two guitarists and played actual songs that I learned what playing the bass was really about. One of those songs was I'm Your Captain by Grand Funk Railroad. Borrowing a copy of the Closer To Home album I listened closely to Mel Schacher's bass lines, especially the riffs on the intro to I'm Your Captain and during the transition to the song's second movement. To this day I credit Schascher as being the most important influence on my own bass playing (even though I haven't actually picked up a bass guitar since 1989).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Julia
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    John Lennon's songwriting continued to take a more personal turn with the 1968 release of The Beatles, also known as the White Album. Perhaps the best example of this is the song Julia. The song was written for Lennon's mother, who had been killed by a drunk driver in 1958, although it also has references to Lennon's future wife Yoko Ono (Yoko translates into English as Ocean Child). Julia is the only 100% solo John Lennon recording to appear on a Beatles album.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Abbey Road Medley #2
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys (although some rock historians treat it as one long medley). The second one consists of three songs credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Golden Slumbers is vintage McCartney, while Carry That Weight has more of a Lennon feel to it. The final section,The End, probably should have been credited to the entire band, as it contains the only Ringo Starr drum solo on (a Beatles) record as well as three sets of alternating lead guitar solos (eight beats each) from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon (in that order).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Glass Onion
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    John Lennon decided to have a little fun with Beatles fans when he wrote the lyrics to Glass Onion, the third song on the 1968 album The Beatles (aka the White Album). The song contains references to many earlier Beatles tunes, such as Strawberry Fields Forever, The Fool On The Hill and Lady Madonna. Glass Onion even contains a tongue-in-cheek reference to the whole "Paul is dead" rumor with the lines "Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul". The track is notable for being the first song on the album to feature the entire band, as Paul McCartney played drums on both Back In The USSR and Dear Prudence, which precede Glass Onion on the album's first side.

Artist:     Mountain
Title:     Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source:     CD: Woodstock 2
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1969
     Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along. This particular recording, from the Woodstock 2 album, sounds like a different performance than the one heard on the Rhino 40th anniversary box set. The story I heard is that the band was unhappy with the actual Woodstock recording (due to both technical and performance flaws) and provided an alternate live recording to be used on the original LP. The fact that the 40th anniversary version includes a section where the vocals are inaudible, but that are clearly heard on this recording, adds credibility to that story.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Boysenberry Jam
Source:    LP: Grape Jam
Writer(s):    Spence/Miller/Stevenson/Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    For their second album, San Francisco's Moby Grape decided to throw in something extra. Instead of a single LP at the standard price, the group added a second album for just a dollar more. This second album, packaged in its own cover, was made up of a series of jam sessions featuring various band members, with a couple of guest artists thrown in. One of the hardest rocking of these was Boysenberry Jam, which features guitarist Jerry Miller, drummer Don Stevenson and bassist Bob Mosley on their usual instruments, along with Skip Spence playing the piano. This was really not all that much of a stretch, given that Spence, normally a guitarist, had been the original drummer of Jefferson Airplane, proving his versatility.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Positively 4th Street
Source:    CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Recorded during the same 1965 sessions that produced the classic Highway 61 Revisited album, Positively 4th Street was deliberately held back for release as a single later that year. The stereo mix of the song was not issued until the first Dylan Greatest Hits album was released in 1967.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Blind Willie Johnson
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    One lasting legacy of the British Invasion was the re-introduction to the US record-buying public to the songs of early Rhythm and Blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson. This emphasis on classic blues in particular would lead to the formation of electric blues-based US bands such as the Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project. Unlike the Butterfields, who made a conscious effort to remain true to their Chicago-style blues roots, the Blues Project was always looking for new ground to cover, which ultimately led to them developing an improvisational style that would be emulated by west coast bands such as the Grateful Dead, and by Project member Al Kooper, who conceived and produced the first rock jam LP ever, Super Session, in 1968. As the opening track to their second (and generally considered best) LP Projections, I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes served notice that this was a new kind of blues, louder and brasher than what had come before, yet tempered with Kooper's melodic vocal style. An added twist was the use during the song's instrumental bridge of an experimental synthesizer known among band members as the "Kooperphone", probably the first use of any type of synthesizer in a blues record.

Artist:    Third Bardo
Title:    I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source:    Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Evans/Pike
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1967
    The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).

Artist:    Frumious Bandersnatch
Title:    Cheshire
Source:    British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on untitled EP)
Writer(s):    Jack King
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Year:    1968
    The longest track on the Frumious Bandersnatch EP (taking up the entire second side of the record), was a tune called Cheshire. Although the recent British CD issue of The Berkeley EPs credits Bob Winkleman as the writer of the piece, the liner notes of the same CD make it clear that Cheshire is actually the work of drummer Jackson King; in fact, the song dates back to the band's earliest days with its original lineup. Like the band name itself, the title of the track reflects King's intense interest in the works of Lewis Carroll.   
        
Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Monterey
Source:     CD: Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1968
     After the original Animals broke up in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon recorded a solo album, Eric Is Here, using mostly studio musicians, but credited officially to Eric Burdon And The Animals. He then set about organizing a new Animals band that included drummer Barry Jenkins (who had been a member of the original band and had played on Eric Is Here), guitarist/violinist John Weider, guitarist/pianist Vic Briggs and bassist Danny McCulloch. One of the first appearances of the New Animals on stage was at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The experience (pun intended) so impressed the group that they wrote a song about it. The song was issued both as a single and on the LP: The Twain Shall Meet. The single used a mono mix; the LP version, while in stereo, was overlapped at both the beginning and end by adjoining tracks, and was missing the first few seconds of the single version. The version used here was created by splicing the mono intro onto the stereo main portion of the song, fading it a bit early to avoid the overlap from the LP. This process (called making a "cut down") was first done by a company called Drake-Chenault, which supplied tapes to radio stations using the most pristine stereo versions of songs available. Whether Polydor used the Drake-Chenault version or did the cut down itself, the version is the same.
 

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2116 (starts 4/12/21)

 https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/365399-dc-2116

 
    This week we have not one, but two progressions through the golden age of classic rock. The first starts in 1969 with the Who and ends up in 1974 with a classic King Crimson track, while the second runs from 1968 to 1971. As a bonus we have the unique Alan Douglas mix of Jimi Hendrix's Angel from the long out-of-print Voodoo Soup album to finish out the hour.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor UK (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's most popular pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a blind deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his "deaf, dumb and blind" condition.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Nothing To Say
Source:    CD: Benefit
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1970
    Nothing To Say, from Jethro Tull's third album, Benefit, is one of those songs that takes a while to get into your head, but once there, is nearly impossible to get out. The tune, like other songs from around the same time, is built around guitar riffs. Martin Barre, who had joined the band on their previous LP, Stand Up, was by this time more comfortable in his role as the band's lead guitarist, and his playing is confident and precise. Ian Anderson's lyrics show just a touch of the cyrnicism that would characterize much of the band's later work; the song's message is summed up by the lines: " I say I have the answer proven to be true, but if I were to share it with you, you would stand to gain and I to lose. Oh I couldn't bear it so I've got nothing to say."

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Para Los Rumberos
Source:    LP: Santana (III)
Writer(s):    Tito Puente
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    One of the highlights of Santana's second album, Abraxis, was a song called Oye Como Va. The song, sung entirely in Spanish, was a surprise hit and has been a part of Santana's stage repertoire ever since. The song was originally recorded in the 1950s by its songwriter, Tito Puente, and his band, which he described as jazz with latin rhythms. Appropriately, Santana's music has often been described as rock with latin rhythms, so it was perhaps inevitable that Santana would record more of Puente's tunes. Indeed, the final track on the next Santana album was a Puente composition. Santana's version of Para Los Rumberos closely follows the original Puente arrangement, even to the presence of a horn section on the piece. I strongly recommend you use your search engine to find one of Puente's performances of the song, for comparison's sake. I did, and watching what turned out to be his final performance literally brought tears to my eyes.

Artist:    Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina
Title:    Peace Of Mind
Source:    45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Jim Messina
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    The first Loggins And Messina LP started off as a Kenny Loggins solo project, but it soon became apparent that Jim Messina's role was much bigger than just producer. In fact, Messina ended up writing over half the songs on the album. Most of those featured lead vocals by Messina himself, but one, a tune called Peace Of Mind that was part of a longer track called Trilogy, was sung by Loggins and was even released as the album's fourth single in August of 1972. The B side of that single, incidentally, was House At Pooh Corner, which has come to be one of Loggins' signature songs.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    No Quarter
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Jones/Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Recorded in 1972, No Quarter was first released on the fifth Led Zeppelin album, Houses Of The Holy, and remained a part of the band's concert repertoire throughout their existence. The song is a masterpiece of recording technology, showing just how well-versed the band had become in the studio by that time. The title of the song comes from the military phrase "No quarter asked, none given" (don't ask a foe for mercy, nor grant mercy to a fallen enemy), with several references to the concept made in the lyrics throughout the song.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Starless
Source:    CD: Red
Writer(s):    Cross/Fripp/Wetton/Bruford/Palmer-James
Label:    Discipline Global Mobile
Year:    1974
    Starless, as written by bassist/vocalist John Wetton, was intended to be the title track of King Crimson's sixth LP, Starless And Bible Black. Guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Bill Bruford, however, disliked the song and chose not to record it. This might have been the end of the story except that Bruford later came up with a riff in 13/4 time that became the basis for a long instrumental jam that was added to Starless, making the entire piece over twelve minutes long. Starting off sounding quite a bit like Epitaph (from the band's 1969 debut LP In The Court Of The Crimson KIng) and containing a frenetic double-time section reminiscent of 21st Century Schizoid Man (also from Court), Starless was included as the final track on the seventh (and, for several years final) King Crimson album, Red.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Ball And Chain
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Cheap Thrills)
Writer:    Willie Mae Thornton
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    In June of 1967 Big Brother And The Holding Company, fronted by Janis Joplin, electrified the crowd at the Monterey International Pop Festival with their rendition of Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton's Ball And Chain. Over the years Joplin, both with and without Big Brother, continued to perform the song. One of the finest performances of Ball And Chain was recorded live at the Fillmore in 1968 and included on the band's major label debut, Cheap Thrills. In retrospect the recording marks the peak of both Big Brother and of Joplin, who went their separate ways after the album was released.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Coming Your Way
Source:    CD: Then Play On
Writer(s):    Danny Kirwan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Boilerhouse was a South London band that practiced in (what else?) a basement boiler room. Peter Green, founder of Fleetwood Mac, saw them rehearsing and asked them to be his opening band. The only member of Boilerhouse that was prepared to turn professional, however, was 18-year-old guitarist Danny Kirwan. When efforts to find a new rhythm section to back up Kirwan failed, Green asked Kirwan to join Fleetwood Mac as the band's third guitarist. Kirwan's first appearance with the band was on a single called Albatross, which featured both guitarists in a lead role (second guitarist Jeremy Spencer generally did not contribute to Green's compositions). In January of 1969 four of Kirwan's songs appeared on a US- only compilation LP called English Rose, that also included several tracks from the previous Fleetwood Mac album, Mr. Wonderful, that had not been released in the US. Later that same year Kirwan was prominently featured on the album Then Play On, which was also the final Fleetwood Mac LP to include Green. Although the original British version of Then Play On contained seven Kirwan songs, the US version ended up including only three of them, including Coming Your Way, the album's opening track. Kirwan remained with Fleetwood Mac until 1972, when his dependency on alcohol led to his being fired after refusing to go onstage during their US tour.

Artist:    Three Dog Night
Title:    Liar
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Russ Ballard
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1971
    Before the Beatles came along a typical pop group consisted of three or more vocalists backed by studio musicians and performing material provided by professional songwriters. In a sense Three Dog Night was a throwback to that earlier model, as the group was formed around a nucleus of three vocalists: Chuck Negron, Cory Wells and Danny Hutton. Unlike the early 60s groups, however, Three Dog Night chose to hire a fixed set of instrumentalists to both play on their records and perform live material (most of which did indeed come from professional songwriters). One of their many hit singles was Liar, a song written by Argent's lead vocalist Russ Ballard and originally released on that group's 1970 debut LP. The Three Dog Night version went into the US top 10 in 1971.

Artist:    J. Geils Band
Title:    I Don't Need You No More
Source:    British import LP: The New Age Of Atlantic (originally released on LP: The Morning After)
Writer(s):    Wolf/Justman
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    I Don't Need You No More is the opening track of the second J. Geils Band album, The Morning After. It was also chosen for inclusion of the 1972 British sampler album The New Age Of Atlantic that came out in early 1972. The song was never released as a single, however.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title:    Angel
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: The Cry Of Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    In the early 1990s Alan Douglas, who had control of the Jimi Hendrix catalog, compiled his own CD version of what might have been the next Hendrix album after Band Of Gypsys, had Hendrix lived to complete it. Douglas's version was called Voodoo Soup, and, like other Douglas releases, was no stranger to controversy. A few of the tracks on Voodoo Soup had Mitch Mitchell's original drum tracks replaced by new recordings featuring Bruce Gary of the Knack, while others were actually older recordings featuring Noel Redding on bass rather than Billy Cox, who had been performing with Hendrix in a group billed as the Jimi Hendrix Experience as well as being a member of Band Of Gypsys. Overlooked in all this is the fact that Douglas also did new mixes of several songs, including Angel, which had originally been mixed by Mitchell and Eddie Kramer for the 1971 LP The Cry Of Love. Douglas's mix is sparser than the original, with only one drum track and virtually no enhancement of the vocals.
       

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2115 (starts 4/5/21)

 https://exchange.prx.org/pieces/364601-pe-2115

 
    This week's show is centered mainly on the core years of the psychedelic era, with over two thirds of the songs coming from either 1966 or 1967, including an all New York City set from 1966. We also have a Beatles set focusing on their earlier material and a set of tunes from the first Strawberry Alarm Clock LP. And as a bonus, hidden somewhere in this week's blog entry we have a mini-essay on how 45s, LPs and EPs came to be.

Artist:    Davie Allan And The Arrows
Title:    Blue's Theme
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Wild Ones-soundtrack and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Curb/Allan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1966
    It is entirely possible that the Chocolate Watchband (or more accurately, the unknown producers of their first recording) were indirectly responsible for giving guitarist Davie Allan his biggest hit single. In 1966, movie producer Roger Corman hired Mike Curb to comeup with soundtrack music for his 1966 film The Wild Ones. Curb in turn contacted his longtime friend (and frequent collaborator) Davie Allan to actually record the soundtrack with his band, the Arrows. The film was released in July of 1966, with the soundtrack album appearing soon after. The obvious high point of the album was the instrumental track Blue's Theme (which technically should have been Blues's Theme, since the film's main character, played by Peter Fonda, was named Heavenly Blues), but at first there were reportedly no plans to release the song as a single. However, late in the year the Chocolate Watch Band were making their very first visit to a recording studio, and were asked to knock out a quick cover of Blues Theme, which was released (sans apostrophe) on the HBR label, credited to The Hogs. Curb must have heard about this as it was being prepared for release, as he managed to put out a single release of the original Davie Allan version of Blue's Theme before the HBR single hit the racks. Either that, or (more likely) the HBR producers simply had bad info about Curb's intentions in the first place.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes' biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from their record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Boots
Title:    Gaby
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in West Germany as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Krabbe/Bresser
Label:    Rhino (original label: Telefunken)
Year:    1966
    Formed in Berlin in 1965, the Boots were one of the more adventurous bands operating on the European mainland. While most bands in Germany tended to emulate the Beatles, the Boots took a more underground approach, growing their hair out just a bit longer than their contemporaries and appealing to a more Bohemian type of crowd. Lead guitarist Jurg "Jockel" Schulte-Eckle was known for doing strange things to his guitar onstage using screwdrivers, beer bottles and the like to create previously unheard of sounds. On vinyl the band comes off as being just a bit ahead of its time, as can be heard clearly on the original group's final single, Gaby, a song written by singer Werner Krabbe and bassist Bob Bresser. Not long after Gaby's release, Krabbe left the band. Although the Boots continued on with various configurations until 1969, they were never able to recapture the magic generated by the original lineup.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Holiday In Waikiki
Source:    CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released on LP: Face To Face)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    Ray Davies's original idea for the Kinks' 1966 album Face To Face was to tie all the songs together through the use of sound effects to create one continuous audio track. The band's UK record company vetoed the idea, however, and for the most part the sound effects were left on the cutting room floor. One exception to this was Holiday In Waikiki, which retains its oceanic intro and fade.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    On The Road Again
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    On January 14, 1965, Bob Dylan made his first recordings with an electric band at Columbia Records' Studio B. The following day, using mostly the same musicians, he recorded On The Road Again. The song, basically a declaration of indepence from his role as a folk singer, contains the lines "You ask why I don't live here. Honey, how come you don't move?".

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I'm So Glad
Source:    Mono LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Skip James
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Unlike later albums, which featured psychedelic cover art and several Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaborations that had a decidedly psychedelic sound, Fresh Cream was marketed as the first album by a British blues supergroup, and featured a greater number of blues standards than subsequent releases. One of those covers that became a concert staple for the band was the old Skip James tune I'm So Glad. The song has become so strongly associated with Cream that the group used it as the opening number for all three performances when they staged a series of reunion concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004. Unlike the rest of the songs on Fresh Cream, I'm So Glad was never given a stereo mix.

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: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. 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:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Flower In The Sun
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1999
    Sam Houston Andrew III is one of the more overlooked talents of the late 1960s San Francisco music scene. Born in 1941, Andrew was a military brat who, at the age of 17, was the host of his own TV show in Okinawa, Japan, as well as leader of the show's house band. His father was transferred to a base in California shortly after Andrew graduated high school, and Andrew soon became involved with the San Francisco music scene. In 1966 he and Peter Albin formed Big Brother And The Holding Company, a band that would, by the end of the year, include vocalist Janis Joplin. Following the release of the hit album Cheap Thrills in 1968, Andrew and Joplin left Big Brother to form the Kozmic Blues Band. Less than a year later Andrew returned to Big Brother And The Holding Company, becoming the band's musical director until his death in 2015. Andrew was Big Brother's most prolific songwriter (he had written his first song at age 6), contributing songs like Combination Of The Two (the band's usual set opener) and Flower In The Sun, the studio version of which was intended for inclusion on Cheap Thrills but cut when it was decided to include more live performances on the LP.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Bes' Friends
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful was an attempt by one of the most popular bands in the US to sound as different as possible on every track on an album. For the most part they succeeded, especially on songs like Bes' Friends. The song, done in a style that brings to mind the band's Greenwich Village compatriot Dave Van Ronk, is notable for its extensive use of harmonia and clarinet, making it sound like it was performed by a Salvation Army band in early 20th century New Orleans.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Caress Me Baby
Source:     LP: Projections
Writer:     Jimmy Reed
Label:     Verve Forecast
Year:     1966
     After deliberately truncating their extended jams for their first LP, Live At The Cafe Au-Go-Go, the Blues Project recorded a second album that was a much more accurate representation of what the band was all about. Mixed in with the group's original material was this outstanding cover of Caress Me Baby, an old Jimmy Reed tune sung by lead guitarist and Blues Project founder Danny Kalb that runs over seven minutes in length. Andy Kuhlberg's memorable walking bass line would be lifted a few year later by Blood, Sweat and Tears bassist Jim Fielder for the track Blues, Part II.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    Although originally released in 1966 on the Psychedelic Lollipop album, the Blues Magoos' (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet is best remembered as one of the first psychedelic hits of 1967, hitting its peak in February of that year. The Magoos would go on to record a few more albums and release a few more singles, but were fated never to repeat the success of this monster hit.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    From Later
Source:    LP: Living In The Past (originally released in UK on EP: Life Is A Long Song)
Writer:    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1971    
    In the late 1940s there was a push to find a viable replacement for the 78 RPM record, which was heavy and brittle and not capable of reproducing the high fidelity recordings being made on tape recorders, a technology that had been brought back from Germany by returning GIs at the end of World War II. Additionally, a 10-inch 78 RPM record could only hold three or four minutes of material per side, resulting in an industry standard length for popular music. RCA Victor, which had dominated the recording industry pretty much from the beginning, took the most direct route, developing the 45 RPM vinyl record with a similar running time to the 78 (45 RPM having been mathmatically determined to be the optimum speed for a 7" vinyl record). RCA's chief rival, Columbia Records, took a different approach. Long pieces of music (classical in particular) had always, by necessity, been spread out over several 78s (known as an album due to its resemblance to a photo album). Columbia reasoned that there was a market for a new type of record that could hold up to 30 uninterrupted minutes per side and set about developing the 33 1/3 RPM LP record (based on the speed used for radio transcription discs). From the start, RCA banked on the 45 being the only record anyone would buy, and even made phongraphs that only played records in that format (45s had a large hole in the center, while LPs had a small hole, the same as 78s). As it turned out, there was a market for both 45 and LP records in the booming postwar economy, and RCA found itself at a disadvantage when it came to not only classical music, but modern jazz as well, which was quickly gravitating to the longer LPs as the medium of choice. RCA responded at first by developing the extended play 45 (or EP) which applied the microgroove technology of the LP to nearly double the capacity of a 45 RPM record. These EPs enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the US in the 1950s, until the RCA 45-only players wore out and got replaced by multi-speed units in most homes. In England, however, the format was even more successful and remained that way well into the 1960s, with EPs occupying space on the record racks alongside LPs and singles. One reason for this was that unlike in the US, where EPs were almost always shortened versions of albums available in the LP format, the British EPs often contained music that was not available in any other format. An artist with a moderately successful single might get a contract to record an EP as a logical next step in Britain, while in the US that same group would have to crank out a couple more successful singles before being allowed to record an LP. Often, British artists would have a handful of new songs to record, but not enough to fill an entire LP. Such was the case in 1971, when Jethro Tull recorded a five-song EP entitled Life Is A Long Song. From Later is an instrumental piece from Life Is A Long Song that did not get released in the US until 1973, when it was included on Jethro Tull's Living In The Past collection.

Artist:    Czar
Title:    Ritual Fire Dance
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution
Writer(s):    de Falla/arr. Hodges
Label:    Grapefruit
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2013
    After a series of unsuccessful singles for various labels from 1965-1969, Tuesday's Children decided to abandon light pop for a more progressive sound, changing their name to Czar in the process. Czar's debut LP came out in May of 1970, but it was missing one track due to difficulties over publishing rights: an adaptation of Spanish composer Manuel de Falla's Ritual Fire Dance that the group had recorded in February of that year, about a month after their first gig using their new name. Ritual Fire Dance was included in a box set of British psychedelic tracks called Love, Poetry And Revolution, released in 2013.

Artist:    Mandrake Paddle Steamer
Title:    Strange Walking Man
Source:    Mono British import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Briley/Engle
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Columbia UK)
Year:    1969
    Mandrake Paddle Steamer was the brainchild of art school students Martin Briley and Brian Engle, who, with producer Robert Finnis, were among the first to take advantage of EMI's new 8-track recording equipment at their Abbey Road studios. The result was Strange Walking Man, a single released in 1969. The track includes an uncredited coda created by Finnis by splicing a tape of studio musicians playing a cover version of an Incredible String Band tune, Maybe Someday.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Redding/Cropper
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1968
    Otis Redding's (Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay, co-written by legendary MGs guitarist Steve Cropper, was released shortly after the plane crash that took the lives of not only Redding, but several members of the Bar-Kays as well. Shortly after recording the song Redding played it for his wife, who reacted by saying "Otis, you're changing." Redding's reply was "maybe I need to."

Artist:    Tiffany Shade
Title:    An Older Man
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US on LP: Tiffany Shade)
Writer(s):    Barnes/Leonard
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    From 1967 through 1970 Bob Shad's Mainstream label released over two dozen rock albums. Most of these albums were by bands that were known only to audiences in their own hometowns. Indeed, most of these albums were highly forgettable. This was due in large part to the fact that Shad would book the absolute minimum amount of studio time required to get an LP's worth of material recorded. This generally meant using the first take of every recording, even if the band felt they could do better if they had a little more time. As a result, most late 60s Mainstream LPs ended up on the budget rack not long after their release, and, at least in some cases, even the band members themselves considered the whole thing a waste of time and effort. Such is the case with Cleveland's Tiffany Shade, which consisted of guitarist/lead vocalist Mike Barnes, keyboardist Bob Leonard, drummer Tom Schuster and bassist Robb Murphy. The group's manager recommended the group to Shad, who booked two eight-hour sessions for the band at the Cleveland Recording Company. Fortunately, the band was better prepared than most of the Mainstream bands, and actually turned out a halfway decent album, thanks in large part to Barnes's talent as a songwriter, which can be heard on tunes like An Older Man, co-written by Leonard.

Artist:    Moles
Title:    We Are The Moles-Pt. 1
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Moles
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes success carries it own baggage. Take the case of Britain's Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The group was formed by a trio of Scottish brothers, Phil, Derek and Ray Shulman, along with Peter O'Flaherty, Eric Hine and Tony Ransley in the Portsmouth area, going through a variety of band names before settling on Simon Dupree And The Big Sound in 1966. The group was originally known for its spot-on covers of songs by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Don Covay. By 1967, however, audience tastes were rapidly changing, and psychedelic bands such as Pink Floyd and the Creation were drawing crowds away from the R&B bands. Under pressure from both their management and record label the band recorded a song called Kites, a psychedelic piece that became their biggest hit and placed the group firmly in the minds of record buyers as a flower-power band. But, like most fads, flower-power was itself out of style by 1968, but Simon Dupree And The Big Sound were stuck with a reputation that didn't even fit the members' own musical preferences (which still ran to R&B). To try to break free of this unwanted rep, the group released a rather bizarre single called We Are The Moles in 1968. The record was shrouded in mystery, with writing credits going to "the Moles", and production credit to George Martin (leading some to believe it was actually a Beatles outtake). The ploy almost worked, as the possible Beatles connection led to increased interest in the record, but that interest quickly dissipated when it was revealed (by Syd Barrett, of all people) that the record was indeed the work of Simon Dupree And The Big Sound. The band continued on for a few more months, until lead vocalist Derek Shulman announced his retirement in 1969, saying he was tired of being Simon Dupree. He would rejoin his brothers the following year for their new venture, an experimental rock band called Gentle Giant.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Little Child
Source:     Mono CD: With The Beatles (released in US on LP: Meet The Beatles)
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:     1963
     The Beatles second album, With The Beatles, followed pretty much the same formula as their debut album, with a mixture of cover tunes and Lennon/McCartney originals. One of those original songs was Little Child, which also was included on the US version of the album (Meet The Beatles, their first LP on the Capitol label).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Think For Yourself
Source:    LP: Rubber Soul
Writer:    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/Apple (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing two songs per Beatle album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting skills at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.
 
Artist:     Beatles
Title:     All I've Got To Do
Source:     Mono CD: With The Beatles (released in US on LP: Meet The Beatles)
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:     1963
    It's been said that there really is no such thing as an obscure Beatles song. That really isn't true, however. Consider this: Meet The Beatles was released on January 20, 1964, as the first Beatles LP to appear on the Capitol label. By then it's lead single, I Want To Hold Your Hand, was already climbing the Billboard charts, and would hit the #1 spot less than two weeks later. Just two months after that the Beatles would occupy the top five spots on the Billboard charts, a feat that has never been duplicated. A second Capitol LP, The Beatles Second Album, was released on April 10, 1964. Add to the the fact that the US version of Please Please Me, retitled Introducing The Beatles, was also available to US audiences on the Vee Jay label, and it's easy to see why a non-single LP track like All I've Got To Do, buried near the end of side one of Meet The Beatles, did not receive a whole lot of airplay. The song itself is a slower number, with John Lennon taking the lead vocal and Paul McCartney providing harmonies. For most of us, All I've Got To Do was the song you sat through to get to the more popular All My Loving, which, although not released as a single, had been featured on one of the band's appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Still, All I've Got To Do is vintage Fab Four material, and, as such, is worth a listen.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire (single version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Apparently I was not the only one, as the song spent three weeks at the top of the charts in July of 1967. Despite this success, the single version of the song, which runs less than three minutes, is all but forgotten by modern radio stations, which universally choose to play the full-length album version. Nonetheless, the single version, which was created by editing out most of the solo instrumental sections of the piece, is a historical artifact worth an occasional listen.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    Find Somebody
Source:    CD: Groovin'
Writer(s):    Cavaleire/Brigati
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1967
    Back in the early 1980s I made myself a mix tape from various albums that I had found at the studios of KUNM, the University Of New Mexico radio station, where I was doing a couple of weekly shifts as a student/volunteer. I still have that tape somewhere, but somewhere along the way I lost track of just what the sources were for the various songs I recorded. Among those "mystery songs" was a tune I really liked a lot called (presumably) Find Somebody. The problem was that I had no clue who the band was. I thought it might be the Young Rascals; if it was it was hands down the coolest Young Rascals song I had ever heard. I spent the next 30 years or so trying to find out where the song had originally appeared, as the cassette tape was too worn out to use over the air. Finally, in 2017, I found a copy of the third Young Rascals album, Groovin', and there it was. So here it is: Find Somebody by the Young Rascals, featuring vocals by Eddie Brigati. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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:    Turtles
Title:    Person Without A Care
Source:    French import CD: Happy Together
Writer(s):    Al Nichol
Label:    Magic (original US label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    Al Nichol never seems to get the credit he deserves. Along with Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, he was the only original member of the Turtles to remain with the group for its entire existence; in fact, he was the lead guitarist for the Nightriders, the instrumental surf group led by Kaylan that eventually became the Turtles. Starting with their second LP, You Baby, Nichol wrote or co-wrote at least one song on each of the band's albums, and those songs were usually among the most original-sounding tracks on the album. A perfect example of this is Person Without A Care. While not particularly commercial, the song has a catchy hook and, for 1967, an innovative chord structure. Not much is known of Nichol's post-Turtles adventures, other than a short note on the Turtles' web site saying that he "lives in Nevada".

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

Artist:    Arlo Guthrie
Title:    Chilling Of The Evening
Source:    LP: Alice's Restaurant
Writer(s):    Arlo Guthrie
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Although totally overshadowed by the album's title track, Arlo Guthrie's debut LP, Alice's Restaurant, contains other tasty morsels as well, such as Chilling Of The Evening, which opens the album's second side. The song's production is a bit in the Glen Campbell vein, but the lyrics are young, innocent and honest, reflecting Guthrie's own situation at the time.

Artist:    Noel Harrison
Title:    Sign Of The Queen
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Brewer/Shipley
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing
Year:    1967
    Noel Harrison is no relation to George Harrison. He is, however the son of actor Rex Harrison, which no doubt helped him get a contract with Reprise Records, which had recently been acquired from original owner Frank Sinatra by Warner Brothers. The fact that he also was also co-starring in the spinoff series The Girl From Uncle probably played into it as well. Among the tunes recorded by Harrison was Sign Of The Queen, a B side released in 1967. The tune was written by Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley, who would have a huge hit of their own four years later with a song called One Toke Over The Line.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Mike Settle
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The First Edition was formed by Mike Settle and Kenny Rogers, both members of the New Christy Minstrels, a group that made more appearances on TV variety shows than on the record charts (imagine a professional version of a high school madrigal choir). The two wanted to get into something a little more hip than watered-down choral versions of Simon and Garfunkel songs and the like, and recorded an album that included folk-rock, country-rock and even the full-blown psychedelia of Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), which ended up being their first single. For the B side of that single one of Settle's songs, Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind, was selected. The song, a decent piece of folk-rock with reasonably intelligent lyrics, might have been hit record material itself if it weren't for the fact that by 1968 folk-rock had pretty much run its course.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    The World's On Fire
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    King/Bunnell/Freeman/Weitz/Seal
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    So you think because you've heard Incense And Peppermints (the song, not the album) about a million times, you have a pretty good grip on what the Strawberry Alarm Clock was all about? Well, a listen to the opening track of their first LP (also titled Incense And Peppermints) will disabuse you of that notion in a hurry. Running well over eight minutes in length, The World's On Fire is essentially an extended jam showcasing the talents of the band itself, including guitarist Ed King, who would later become a member of Lynyrd Skynryd . The piece was also included in the 1968 film Psych-Out.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Uni)
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints started off as an instrumental from Los Angeles band Thee Sixpence members Mark Weitz and Ed King, mostly because the band simply couldn't come up with any lyrics. Their producer decided to bring in professional songwriters John S. Carter and Tim Gilbert to finish the song, and ended up giving them full credit for it. This did not sit well with the band members. In fact, they hated the lyrics so much that they refused to sing them. Undaunted, the producer persuaded 16-year-old Greg Munford, a friend of the band who had accompanied them to the recording studio, to sing the lead vocals on the track, which was was then issued as the B side of the group's fourth single, The Birdman Of Alkatrash, on the All-American label. Somewhere along the line a local DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) immediately signed the band (which by then had changed their name to the Strawberry Alarm Clock) issuing the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side. Naturally, the song went to the number one spot, becoming the band's only major hit.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Strawberries Mean Love
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    George Bunnell
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    There seems to be a bit of confusion as to who actually wrote Strawberries Mean Love, the last song on side one of the Strawberry Alarm Clock album Incense And Peppermints. The original 1967 label lists it as being a collaboration between bassist George Bunnell, flautist Steve Bartek and "S.A. Clock". The Wikipedia entry for the album credits the song to Bunnell/Bartek. The copy I use, however, which is the 2011 Sundazed vinyl reissue, lists Bunnell as the sole writer of the song. Since three other tracks on that same copy as credited to Bunnell/Bartok, I tend to believe that Strawberries Mean Love is indeed the sole creation of Bunnell.