Sunday, January 31, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2106 (starts 2/1/21) 

    This time around we have a total of 33 tunes, including artists' sets from Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles, as well as an all New Mexico Advanced Psych segment.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    CD: Flowers (originally released on LP: Between The Buttons)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones second LP of 1967 was Flowers, one of a series of US-only albums made up of songs that had been released in various forms in the UK but not in the US. In the case of Flowers, though, there were a couple songs that had already been released in the US-but not in true stereo. One of those was Let's Spend The Night Together, a song intended to be the A side of a single, but that was soon banned on a majority of US radio stations because of its suggestive lyrics. Those stations instead flipped the record over and began playing the B side. That B side, a song called Ruby Tuesday, ended up in the top 5, while Let's Spend The Night Together barely cracked the top 40. The Stones did get to perform the tune on the Ed Sullivan Show, but only after promising to change the lyrics to "let's spend some time together." Later  the same year the Doors made a similar promise to the Sullivan show to modify the lyrics of Light My Fire, but when it came time to actually perform the song Jim Morrison defiantly sang the lyrics as written. The Doors were subsequently banned from making any more appearances on the Sullivan show.
Artist:    Cream
Title:    SWLABR
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
     I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Hampstead Incident
Source:    Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    The Beatles started a trend (one of many) when they used a harpsichord on the Rubber Soul album, released in December of 1965. By early 1967 it seemed that just about everyone had a song or two with the antique instrument featured on it. Unlike some of the recordings of the time, Hampstead Incident manages to use the harpsichord effectively without overdoing it.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Bringing Me Down
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    One of several singles released mainly to San Francisco Bay area radio stations and record stores, Bringing Me Down is an early collaboration between vocalist Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin had invited Kantner into the band without having heard him play a single note. It turned out to be one of many savvy decisions by the young bandleader.
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Greasy Heart
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    The Jefferson Airplane released their fourth LP, Crown of Creation, in the summer of '68. Greasy Heart, a Grace Slick composition, was chosen for single release to AM top 40 radio, but by then the group was getting far more airplay on album-oriented FM stations with tunes like Lather and Triad and the mysteriously named House at Pooniel Corners. As a result, Greasy Heart, despite being a more commercial tune, is far less familiar to most people than any of those other songs.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Run Around (original uncensored version)
Source:    Mono CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane album was released three times. The first (extremely rare) version had 12 songs, including Running Round This World, which was also issued as the B side of the band's first single, It's No Secret. Someone at RCA, however, decided Running Round This World was an invitation to take LSD, and the album was quickly withdrawn and reissued with only the remaining eleven tracks on it. RCA wasn't quite done messing with the album, however, and had the group go back into the studio to change the lyrics on two more songs that they considered "sexually suggestive". One of those two songs was Run Around, with the line "Blinded by colors come flashing from flowers that sway as you lay under me" altered to "...that sway as you stay here by me". The album was once again withdrawn, with the third, "censored" version appearing on the shelves in late 1966. Luckily, the remastered CD version includes the uncensored version of Run Around as a bonus track

Artist:    New Colony Six
Title:    Dawn Is Breaking
Source:    Mono CD: Breakthrough (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Pat McBride
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Centaur)
Year:    1965
    Due to my dad being in the Air Force and stationed in Denver while our extended family all lived in NY state we did a lot of traveling across the country in the early to mid-1960s. As unofficial "navigator" for both my father and grandfather, I had access to the car radio on those days long road trips, and would spend much of the time searching the dial for local stations. This had the unexpected benefit of exposing me to songs that I would never hear if I had been at home or grandparents' house. This was because many local stations played records made by locally popular bands. Sometimes those records would end up making the national charts as well, but that was not always the case. One example is a Chicago area group called the New Colony Six. Their debut single, released in November of 1965 on the local Centaur label, was a song called I Confessed, with Dawn Is Breaking on the record's B side. The single ended up going all the way to the #2 spot on Chicago's WLS, which, as a 50,000 watt clear channel station, had a huge listening area, especially at night. That same record actually did make it onto the Billboard Top 100, but never made it above the #80 spot. The New Colony Six finally did achieve national prominence a few years later with a pair of top 40 hits, but by then the band bore little resemblance to the brash rockers heard on Dawn Is Breaking.

Artist:    Al Kooper
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source:    CD: Blues Project Anthology (originally released on LP: What's Shakin')
Writer(s):    Blind Willie Johnson
Label:    Polydor (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    In early 1966 Elektra Records, then a New York based folk and blues label, decided to put together an album called What's Shakin'. The LP featured some of the top talent appearing in and around the city's Greenwich Village area, including the Lovin' Spoonful and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. In addition to already recorded material, the album included a handful of tracks recorded specifically for the collection, including one by Al Kooper of the Blues Project, who brought along drummer Roy Blumenfeld and bassist Andy Kuhlberg for the session. The song Kooper chose to record was I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes, an old Blind Willie Johnson tune that was already in the Blues Project's repertoire but had not yet been recorded by the band. While the Blues Project version of the song recorded later that year for the Projections album is a classic piece of guitar-based blues-rock, the earlier version for What's Shakin' is built around Kooper's piano playing and has more of a Ramsey Lewis feel to it.
Artist:    Who
Title:    Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands (US single version)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    There are at least three versions of Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands. The first was a monoraul-only electric version of the song released in the US on September 18, 1967 as the B side to I Can See For Miles. Two months later a second, slightly slower stereo version of the tune appeared under the title Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand (singular) on The Who Sell Out. This more acoustic version of the song, which has a kind of calypso flavor to it, is the best known of the three, due to the album staying in circulation far longer than the 45. A third version of the song, also recorded in 1967 and featuring Al Kooper on organ, appeared as a bonus track on the 1995 CD release of Sell Out. The liner notes on the CD, however, erroneously state that it is the US single version, when in fact it is an entirely different recording.
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Dedicated Follower Of Fashion
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    By 1966 Ray Davies's songwriting had taken a satirical turn with songs like Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, which lampooned the flamboyant lifestyle embraced by the Mods, a group of young fashionable Londoners who bought all their clothes on Carnaby Street. The Kinks, at this point, were having greater success in the UK than in the US, where they had been denied visas and were thus unable to tour to promote their records. That condition would only worsen until 1970, when the song Lola became an international smash, reviving the band's flagging fortunes.

Artist:    Association
Title:    Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Renaissance)
Writer(s):    Gary Alexander
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Valiant)
Year:    1966
    Following up on their monster hit Cherish, the Association released their most overtly psychedelic track, Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies, in late 1966, in advance of their second LP, Renaissance. The group had wanted to be more involved in the production process, and provided their own instrumental tracks for the tune, written by band member Gary Alexander. Unfortunately for the band, the single barely made the top 40, peaking at # 35, which ultimately led to the band relying more on outside songwriters and studio musicians for their later recordings such as Never My Love and Windy.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Good Vibrations
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Although I had originally discovered top 40 radio in 1963 (when I received a small Sony transistor radio for my birthday), it wasn't until 1966 that I really got into it in a big way. This way due to a combination of a couple of things: first, my dad bought a console stereo, and second, my junior high school went onto split sessions, meaning that I was home by one o'clock every day. This gave me unprecedented access to Denver's two big top 40 AM stations, as well as an FM station that was experimenting with a Top 100 format for a few hours each day. At first I was content to just listen to the music, but soon realized that the DJs were making a point of mentioning each song's chart position just about every time that song would play. Naturally I began writing all this stuff down in my notebook (when I was supposed to be doing my homework), until I realized that both KIMN and KBTR actually published weekly charts, which I began to diligently hunt down at various local stores. In addition to the songs occupying numbered positions on the charts, both stations included songs at the bottom of the list that they called "pick hits". These were new releases that had not been around long enough to achieve a chart position. The one that most stands out in my memory was the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, a song I liked so much that I went out to the nearest Woolco and bought it the afternoon I heard it. Within a few weeks Good Vibrations had gone all the way to the top of the charts, and I always felt that some of the credit should go to me for buying the record when it first came out (hey I was 13, OK?). Over the next couple of years I bought plenty more singles, but to this day Good Vibrations stands out as the most important 45 RPM record purchase I ever made.
Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    The Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard is generally included on every collection of psychedelic hits ever compiled. And for good reason. The song is an undisputed classic. Originally released under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard, the song got minor airplay on some Los Angeles radio stations, but it wasn't until it was included on the band's first LP and then re-released as a single in late 1966 that the song really took off, ultimately climbing to the #36 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and, perhaps more importantly, hitting #1 on Chicago's WLS on February 17, 1967.

Artist:     Yardbirds
Title:     Jeff's Boogie
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Dreja/Relf/Samwell-Smith/McCarty/Beck
Label:     Epic
Year:     1966
     Jeff's Boogie is an instrumental track from the Yardbirds that originally appeared on the album Over Under Sideways Down in the US. That LP, with a different track lineup and cover, was issued in the UK under the name Yardbirds, although it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer due to its cover art. The song was also chosen to be the B side of the Over Under Sideways Down single, released in 1966. Although credited to the entire band, the tune is actually based on Chuck Berry's guitar boogie, and features some outstanding guitar work by Jeff Beck.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Hideaway
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Underground)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After the moderately successful first Electric Prunes album, producer David Hassinger loosened the reigns a bit for the followup, Underground. Among the original tunes on Underground was Hideaway, a song written by vocalist James Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin that probably would have been a better choice as a single than what actually got released: a novelty tune called Dr. Feelgood written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, who had also written the band's first hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    As The World Rises And Falls
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Morgan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's third album for Reprise, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, is generally considered their best, and for good reason. The album includes some of guitarist Ron Morgan's finest contributions, including the gently flowing As The World Rises And Falls. Even Bob Markley's lyrics, which could run the range from inane to somewhat disturbing, here come across as poetic and original. Unfortunately for the band, Morgan was by this time quite disenchanted with the whole thing, and would often not even show up to record. Nonetheless, the band continued on for a couple more years (and two more albums) before finally calling it quits in 1970.

Artist:    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title:    Stand Back Baby
Source:    LP: Crusade
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Following the departure from the Bluesbreakers of guitarist Peter Green to form Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall recorded his first solo LP, The Blues Alone, on which he wrote every song and played every instrument except for drums. That same year he recruited 18-year-old Mick Taylor to become the new Bluesbreakers guitarist for the album Crusade. Rounding out the band was Keef Hartley, who had provided drum parts for The Blues Alone and bassist John McVie, who had been invited to join Fleetwood Mac but had not yet accepted the invitation. The band also featured saxophonists Chris Mercer and Rip Kant, replading John Almond and Alan Skidmore in the group. As was the case with previous Bluesbreakers albums, Crusade was made up primarily of blues covers, with only a handful of Mayall originals, including Stand Back Baby, the shortest track on the LP. Mayall would release one more Bluesbreakers album (Bare Wires) before retiring the name permanently in 1968.

Artist:     Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:     Fire
Source:     CD: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Writer:     Brown/Crane/Finesilver/Ker
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atlantic)
Year:     1968
     The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was unusual for their time in that they were much more theatrical than most of their contemporaries, who were generally more into audio experimentation than visual. I have a video of Fire being performed (or maybe just lip-synched). In it, all the members are wearing some sort of mask, and Brown himself is wearing special headgear that was literally on fire. There is no doubt that The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown sowed the seeds of what was to become the glitter-rock movement in the early to mid 70s.

Artist:    27 Devils Joking
Title:    Indian Joe
Source:    LP: Actual Toons
Writer(s):    Brian S. Curley
Label:    Live Wire
Year:    1986
    This seems like a good place to talk about Craig Ellis. Craig was a talented, if somewhat troubled songwriter/guitarist/vocalist whom I first heard of in the early 1980s when I ran across a single by a group called Cosmic Grackles at KUNM radio at the University of New Mexico. I finally met Craig in late1986, when both of us were recording at Bottomline Studios in southeast Albuquerque. I was working on something called Civilian Joe ("a real American zero"), while Craig was putting together a project called Uproar At The Zoo involving guitarist Larry Otis and drummer John Henry Smith, among others. Around that same time I interviewed a guy from Santa Fe named Brian S. Curley, who was appearing on my Rock Nouveaux radio show to promote his new group, 27 Devils Joking. During the interview Brian mentioned that he had until recently been working with Craig Ellis, and that 27 Devils Joking was actually a result of a falling out between the two. Which brings us to Indian Joe, a track from the first 27 Devils Joking LP, Actual Toons. You see, in early 1987 Craig gave me a cassette tape of some of his most recent work, including a song called Indian Joe. It's the same song, using an almost identical arrangement, yet on the LP the song is listed as being the sole work of Brian Curley. One of these days I'll find that old cassette tape Craig gave me and you can decide for youself whose song it is.
Artist:    Mumphries
Title:    Bad Dream
Source:    CD: Thank You, Bonzo
Writer(s):    Stephen R Webb
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1989
    One of the more unusual bands on the Albuquerque, NM scene in the late 1980s was a group called the Soft Corps. With a membership that varied depending on the needs of a particular song, the group's on-stage antics included a guitar being leaned on its amp, causing massive feedback while members traded instruments and the band's leader walked off the stage to watch the show. In mid-1988 the Soft Corps officially disbanded, with three of the members, guitarist/bassist/vocalist Quincy Adams, guitarist/keyboardist Suzan Hagler and guitarist/bassist/vocalist StephenR Webb joining up with drummer John Henry Smith to form The Mumphries. Bad Dream, recorded in 1989, features Webb on lead guitar and vocals, Hagler on keyboards, Adams on bass and Smith on drums.

Artist:    Strawberry Zots
Title:    Tiny Town
Source:    LP: Cars, Flowers, Telephones
Writer(s):    Mark Andrews
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    Sometimes if a band in the 1960s had a song they wanted to record that didn't quite fit stylistically with the rest of their material, they would put it at the end of an album side. Probably the most obvious example of this was Moby Grape's Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot, which appeared on the second LP, Wow. To emphasis just how different the song was from the rest of the album, the listener was instructed to change the speed of the record from 33 1/3 RPM to 78 RPM in order to play it (which makes it impossible to play on many high end turntables made after the mid 1970s). Albuquerque's Strawberry Zots, while deliberately emulating all things psychedelic, did not take such a drastic approach with Tiny Town, from their 1989 LP Cars, Flowers, Telephones, but they did, appropriately, put it at the end of side one. Once you've heard the song you'll understand why.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Prologue, August 29, 1968/Someday (August 29, 1968)
Source:    LP: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    Pankow/Lamm
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    In the months leading up to the 1968 Democratic convention the phrase "come to Chicago" was often heard among members of the counter-culture that had grown up around various anti-establishment causes. As the summer wore on it became clear that something was going to happen at the Convention that August. Sure enough, on August 28, with the crowd chanting "the whole world's watching", police began pulling demonstraters into paddy wagons, with a full-blown riot erupting the following day. Around that same time a local Chicago band calling itself the Big Thing hooked up with producer James William Guercio, who convinced them to change their name to the Chicago Transit Authority (later shortened to Chicago). It's only natural then that the band would include a song referencing the events of August 29th on their debut LP. The tracks begin with an actual recording of the chant itself, which leads into a tune written by James Pankow and Robert Lamm called Someday (August 29, 1968). The chant itself makes a short reappearance midway through the song as well.
Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Priority (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Heard (later known as the Bob Seger System), the anarchistic MC5, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Bottom Of The Soul
Source:    CD: Beyond The Garage (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    After severing ties with Original Sound Records in early 1967, Sean Bonniwell and his band, the Music Machine, signed a contract with Warner Brothers, a label that was already well on its way to becoming one of the world's top record companies. Although the first single released on the label featured the original lineup, the song, Bottom Of The Soul, was credited to the Bonniwell Music Machine, as were all subsequent releases by the band. The song itself, in the words of Bonniwell himself, "celebrates the courage of those homeless whose criterion...measures the burdon of living life at the bottom of the soul".

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer:     Esposito/Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1966
     The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    It's Breaking Me Up
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson made no secret of the fact that he wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically, It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Homburg
Source:    British import CD: Procol Harum (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Salvo/Fly (original US label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    Procol Harum's followup single to A Whiter Shade Of Pale was a now nearly forgotten song called Homburg. Although the song's lyrics were praised by critics and by fellow songwriters such as Elton John, the music itself was perceived as being too similar to the previous single to stand on its own. You can decide for yourself on that one. Three years after the record was released, Procol Harum left EMI's Regal Zonophone label to sign with the newly-formed Fly Records. In 1971 Fly released a compilation album called Flyback 4-The Best Of Procol Harum. Included on the album were new stereo mixes of three songs, one of which was Homburg.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    Simulated Stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Priority (origina label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
     After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the band turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song. The song was never mixed in true stereo, forcing the band's record label to use a simulated stereo mix on stereo copies of the LP. Once monoraul albums were phased out in the late 1960s, this "fake" stereo version remained the only one available for many years, appearing on various compilations before a mid-1990s remaster of the Turn! Turn! Turn! album used the original mono mix.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want To Tell You
Source:    LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple/Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    The first pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape I ever bought was the Capitol version of the Beatles' Revolver album, which I picked up about a year after the LP was released. Although my Dad's tape recorder had small built-in speakers, his Koss headphones had far superior sound, which led to me sleeping on the couch in the living room with the headphones on. Hearing songs like I Want To Tell You on factory-recorded reel-to-reel tape through a decent pair of headphones gave me an appreciation for just how well-engineered Revolver was, and also inspired me to (eventually) learn my own way around a recording studio. The song itself, by the way, is one of three George Harrison songs on Revolver; the most on any Beatle album up to that point, and a major reason that, when pressed, I almost always end up citing Revolver as my favorite Beatles LP.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love Me Do (version three)
Source:    Mono CD: Please Please Me
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Tollie)
Year:    1963
    The Beatles made three recordings of their debut single, Love Me Do. The first version of the song (which had actually been written before the Beatles even existed) was made on June 6, 1962  for the band's EMI Artist Test with Pete Best playing drums. Although the band passed the audition, they decided to change drummers soon after the audition, replacing Best with Ringo Starr. On September 4, 1962 they returned to EMI studios for their first official recording session and cut the song a second time, this time with Ringo on drums. Producer George Martin was not entirely satisfied with Ringo's drumming on the recording, and so the song was recut a week later, on September 11, 1962, with studio drummer Andy White (Ringo played tambourine on this version). The single was first issued on October 5th of that year, using the version with Ringo on drums. That version was soon replaced, however, with the Alan White version, which was included on the band's 1963 debut LP Please Please Me, as well as the first pressings of Vee Jays Introducing...The Beatles LP and the US single version of the song released on the Tollie label.

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

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    You Told Me
Source:    CD: Headquarters
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967      
            After Don Kirschner got himself fired from Colgems for issuing the album More of the Monkees without the band's knowledge or permission (as well as a subsequent single that was sent out in promo form to radio stations and almost immediately rescinded), the band members insisted on having greater artistic control over what was being issued with their names on it. The end result was the Headquarters album, the only Monkees LP to feature the band members playing virtually all the instruments (with a few exceptions, notably producer Chip Douglas playing bass guitar). Although the Michael Nesmith composition You Told Me starts off side one of the LP, it was actually the third and final Nesmith track to be recorded for Headquarters. Peter Tork plays banjo on the song, which was sung by Nesmith himself.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2106 (starts 2/1/21)

    This week we feature a long extended piece from the jazz-rock band Chase, a group best-known for their 1971 hit Get It On. Before that, though, we have a descending trip through the years 1973 to 1968. To finish out, we have a set of tracks from 1970. It all starts with a song that has one of the most distinctive (and, to be honest, goofy) intros in the history of recorded music...

Artist:    Blue Suede
Title:    Hooked On A Feeling
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mark James
Label:    EMI
Year:    1973
    By 1974, the novelty record was almost dead. Then again, the Blue Suede version of the 1969 B.J. Thomas hit, Hooked On A Feeling, is not quite a novelty record. The single, release in May of 1973 in the band's native Sweden, went all the way to the top of the charts when it was released in the US in early 1974. Not bad for a band that recorded nothing but cover songs (even the famous "ooka-chaka" intro was swiped from a 1971 Jonathan King version of the song). If you are one of the many who hoped never to hear this song again, you can blame Quentin Tarantino, who revived interest in the song when he included it in the soundtrack of his film Reservoir Dogs.

Artist:    West, Bruce & Laing
Title:    Love Is Worth The Blues
Source:    CD: Why Dontcha
Writer(s):    West/Bruce/Laing
Label:    Columbia/Windfall
Year:    1972
    When Mountain's bassist/vocalist Felix Pappalardi announced, in January of 1972, that he would be leaving the band at the end of their current tour, the group's remaining two members, guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing, immediately set about looking for a replacement. From the start the choice was obvious; Pappalardi had produced all but the first album by Cream, and, as Mountain's producer, deliberately set out to model his new band on the legendary British supergroup, even to the point of developing a vocal style similar to that of Cream bassist Jack Bruce. In fact, one of Mountain's most popular songs, Theme From An Imaginary Western, was a cover of a Jack Bruce/Pete Brown composition from Bruce's first solo LP. It was quickly decided that, rather than continue on as Mountain, the band would call itself West, Bruce & Laing. They got to work on their first album, Why Dontcha, early in 1972, but, due to a combination of factors, including a schedule of live performances and a tendency to spend a lot of their off time getting high, the album was not finished until November of 1972. Although they had managed to negotiate a lucrative deal with Columbia, the label itself was not happy with the overall quality of the album and did not give it a lot of promotional support. Nonetheless, the album did fairly well, staying on the Billboard LP chart for a total of 20 weeks, peaking in the #26 spot. One of the highlights of Why Dontcha was Love Is Worth The Blues. The song, credited to the entire band, features lead vocals from Leslie West and features the kind of interplay between guitar, bass and drums that Cream was famous for.

Artist:    Gordon Haskell
Title:    Sitting By The Fire
Source:    British import LP: The New Age Of Atlantic (originally released on LP: It Is And It Isn't)
Writer(s):    Gordon Haskell
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    Gordon Haskell was one of those British musicians that was probably known more for the people he knew rather than the music he himself made, at least during the early part of his career. Born in 1946, he played bass during his high school years in a band led by schoolmate Robert Fripp. By the mid-60s he had turned professional as a member of the British psychedelic band Fleur de Lys. Although never a major player on the British music scene, the band did score a #1 hit in South Africa with Haskell's Lazy Life, which also hit #3 in Australia. For a short time in 1966 he was roomates with Jimi Hendrix, who had just moved to England at the behest of the Animals' Chas Chandler. Haskell became more well-known in 1970, when he replaced Greg Lake as bassist for King Crimson on their album In The Wake Of Poseidon, taking on lead vocal duties as well for the band's third LP, Lizard. His own preference for blues and folk music put him at odds with Fripp's more avant-garde approach, however, and Haskell soon left King Crimson for a solo career. Signing with Arif Marden's Atlantic subsidiary Atco, Haskell released It Is And It Isn't, in 1971. Although the album itself was not a commercial success, one of the songs, Sitting By The Fire, was chosen for inclusion on the British sampler album The New Age Of Atlantic. For the next thirty years or so Haskell played mostly bar gigs, occasionally doing support work for other artists as well. In 2001 he released an album called Look Out that featured a song called How Wonderful You Are. Despite a total lack of promotion from his label the song went on to become the most requested song in the history of the BBC's Radio 2, and led to a contract with the British label East-West. His next album, Harry's Bar, went to the #2 spot on the British album charts, but after Haskell referred to a record company official as an android the label dropped him from their roster. Haskell continued to perform across Europe until his death from cancer in October of 2020.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Country Girl
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second Crosby, Stills and Nash album, déjà vu, was enhanced by the addition of singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, along with bassist Dallas Taylor and drummer Greg Reeves. The LP itself was printed on textured cardboard with gold offset lettering, giving the package a unique look. But it was the music itself that made the album one of the top sellers of 1970, with three singles going into the top 40. One of the non-single tracks was Country Girl, a medley of three uncompleted Neil Young songs that would not have been out of place on a Young solo album.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Tale In Hard Time
Source:    LP: Fairport Chronicles (originally released in UK on LP: What We Did On Our Holidays and in US on LP: Fairport Convention)
Writer(s):    Richard Thompson
Label:    A&M (UK label: Island)
Year:    1969
    One of the more confusing things about Fairport Convention is the fact that their self-titled debut LP was only released in the UK, and their second album, What We Did On Our Holidays, was released as their self-titled US debut album. Two different albums. Same name. Confusing. What's not confusing, however, is the music itself. Songs like the often overlooked Tale In Hard Time make that abundantly clear.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Harvey's Tune
Source:    CD: Super Session
Writer(s):    Harvey Brooks
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Probably the most overlooked track on the classic Super Session LP is the album's closer, a two-minute instrumental called Harvey's Tune. The piece was written by bassist Harvey Brooks, who, along with Mike Bloomfield, had been a member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and later, the Electric Flag.

Artist:    Chase
Title:    Invitation To A River
Source:    LP: Chase
Writer(s):    Raub/Chase/Richards
Label:    Epic
Year:    1971
    Up until the 1970s, the usual attempts at fusing jazz and rock were to start with a rock band and add horns. This was done mostly by bands from Chicago like the Buckinghams, the Flock and, of course, Chicago. Of course there were exceptions, such as Miles Davis's Bitches Brew album, that attempted to add rock elements to jazz, but those efforts were still considered experimental, and usually included other musical elements as well. In 1970 four jazz trumpeters formed a band incorporating a rock-oriented rhythm section. They called that band Chase, after the band's leader. In addition to the four trumpeters, Bill Chase, Ted Piercefield, Alan Ware and Jerry Van Blair, the band included keyboardist Phil Porter, guitarist Angel South, bassist Dennis Johnson and drummer Jay Burrid. The final member was lead vocalist Terry Richards, who co-wrote the band's first, and biggest hit, Get It On. The song was taken from the band's self-titled debut LP, which also included a fourteen-minute long piece called Invitation To A River, which was actually made up of a series of five shorter pieces, Two Minds Meet, Stay, Paint It Sad, Reflections and River, that play as one continuous track. Chase released two more albums before a plane crash took the life of Bill Chase and five others in 1974.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    25 Or 6 To 4
Source:    CD: Chicago
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    For their second LP, Chicago (which had just dropped the words "Transit Authority" from their name in response to a threatened lawsuit) tried out all three of their vocalists on each new song to hear who sounded the best for that particular song. In the case of Robert Lamm's 25 Or 6 To 4, bassist Peter Cetera did the honors. The song became a top 10 single both in the US and UK. Despite rumors to the contrary, Lamm says 25 Or 6 To 4 is not a drug song. Instead, he says, the title refers to the time of the morning that he was awake and writing the tune.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Wicked World
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The Secret Origin of Heavy Metal-Part One: After a short (one month) stint as Mick Abrahams's replacement in Jethro Tull, guitarist Tony Iommi rejoined his former bandmates Ozzy Osborne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward in the blues-rock band Earth in January of 1969. Later that year they realized that there was already another English band called Earth and decided to change their name. Taking inspiration from a playbill of a movie theater showing classic Boris Karloff horror films across the street from where they were rehearsing, they started calling themselves Black Sabbath in August of 1969 and began to forge a new sound for the band in keeping with their new name. Three months later Black Sabbath got their first record contract, releasing a cover of Crow's Evil Woman in November. They followed the (UK only) single up with their self-titled debut LP, recorded in just two days, on Friday, February 13th, 1970. The album was released three months later in the US, and spent over a year on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. Although Evil Woman was included on the UK version of the LP, Warner Brothers chose to instead include the B side of the band's British single, a song called Wicked World that was not on the UK version of the album. Most Black Sabbath fans, it turns out, consider Wicked World a stronger track, as it shows a trace of the band's original blues-rock sound, especially on its fast paced intro and closing sections.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Green-Eyed Lady
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1970 (originally released on LP: Sugarloaf and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Phillips/Riordan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1970
    The unwritten rules of radio, particularly those concerning song length, were in transition in 1970. Take Sugarloaf's Green-Eyed Lady, for example. When first released as a single the 45 was virtually identical to the album version except that it faded out just short of the six-minute mark. This was about twice the allowed length under the old rules and it was soon replaced with an edited version that left out all the instrumental solos, coming in at just under three minutes. The label soon realized, however, that part of the original song's appeal (as heard on FM rock radio) was its organ solo, and a third single edit with that solo restored became the final, and most popular, version of Green-Eyed Lady. The song went into the top 5 nationally (#1 on some charts) and ended up being the band's biggest hit.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Ship Of Fools
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Morrison Hotel)
Writer(s):    Morrison/Krieger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1970
    1969 was, if nothing else, a turbulent year for the Doors. The band had made headlines for a March 1st performance in Miami that resulted in lead vocalist Jim Morrison's arrest for indecent exposure. In July, the group released their fourth album, The Soft Parade, which was heavily criticized for its use of strings and horns and an overall more commercial sound that the band had previously exhibited. That same month Morrison gave an interview to Rolling Stone magazine in which he stressed the importance of country and blues to American culture. It was not a big surprise then, that the band's next album, Morrison Hotel, featured a more stripped down sound, perhaps even more so than their first LP. Side one of the album, subtitled Hard Rock Cafe, starts off strong with one of the band's most iconic songs, Roadhouse Blues, and ends on a similar note with Ship Of Fools. The group would continue in this direction and even improve on it on their next LP, L.A. Woman. Sadly, L.A. Woman would be the last Doors studio album before Morrison's death.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Hats Off To (Roy) Harper
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Charles Obscure
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The final track on Led Zeppelin's third album at first sounds like a throwaway track featuring Jimmy Page noodling slide guitar and Robert Plant throwing out blues cliches. This impression is reinforced by the fact that the writing credits on the label read "Traditional, arr. Charles Obscure". The reality, though, is that Hats Off To (Roy) Harper is based on a 1937 recording of Shake 'Em On Down by delta bluesman Bukka White. The title of the Led Zeppelin version is a tribute to the band's friend Roy Harper, who would come to international prominence in 1975 as the guest lead vocalist on Pink Floyd's Have A Cigar, from their Wish You Were Here album.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2105 (starts 1/25/21)

    This week we have long sets of short tunes, a short set of long tunes, short sets of short tunes (including a set of British B sides from 1967) and an Advanced Psych segment that includes a vintage 60s psychedelic band covering another vintage 60s psychedelic band's biggest hit, but doing it in the 21st century. Confused? Read on...

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

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Street
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Like many of Jim Morrison's songs, Love Street started off as a poem. "Love Street" was actually the nickname given to Rothdale Trail, the street he and Pamela Courson lived on in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon. Morrison and Courson spent a lot of time sitting on their balcony, watching the local hippies going to and from the Canyon Country Store, which was across the street from their house. Morrison turned the poem into a song in time to get it recorded for the third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun. The track was also released as the B side of the Doors' second #1 single, Hello I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Cry Baby Cry
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Unlike many of the songs on The Beatles (white album), Cry Baby Cry features the entire band playing on the recording. After a full day of rehearsal, recording commenced on July 16, 1968, with John Lennon's guitar and piano, Paul McCartney's bass and Ringo Starr's drum tracks all being laid down on the first day. The remaining overdubs, including most of the vocals and George Harrison's guitar work (played on a Les Paul borrowed from Eric Clapton) were added a couple of days later.

Artist:    Scrugg
Title:    I Wish I Was Five
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    John Kongos
Label:    Rhino (original label: Pye)
Year:    1968
    Johnny Kongos And The Beat Men were a highly successful band in South Africa, releasing several hit singles from 1962 through 1966, when Kongo decided to relocate to London. He soon formed Floribunda Rose with several other relocated South Africans, releasing one single in 1967. By 1968 the group had renamed itself Scrugg and signed with the Pye label. Before disbanding in 1969, Scrugg released three singles. The B side of their first single for Pye was the wistful I Wish I Was Five, released in April of 1967.
Artist:     Bob Seger System
Title:     Death Row
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Bob Seger
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1968
     I like to play Bob Seger's Death Row, written from the perspective of a convicted murderer waiting to be executed, for fans of the Silver Bullet Band who think that Turn the Page is about as intense as it gets. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled across this rare single at a radio station I used to work for. Even better, the station had no desire to keep the record, since the A side, the equally intense anti-war song 2+2=?, never charted. Their loss.

Artist:      Donovan
Title:     Mellow Yellow
Source:      Mono CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:     Epic/Legacy
Year:     1966
     Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK, due to a contract dispute with Pye Records. Incidentally, electric banana didn't turn out to be a sudden craze after all, and it is not Paul McCartney whispering "quite rightly" on the chorus. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble.

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:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Crown Of Creation
Source:    CD: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Crown Of Creation)
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1968
    After the acid rock experimentalism of After Bathing At Baxter's, the Airplane returned to a more conventional format for 1968's Crown Of Creation album. The songs themselves, however, had a harder edge than those on the early Jefferson Airplane albums, as the band itself was becoming more socio-politically radical. The song Crown of Creation draws a definite line between the mainstream and the counter-culture.

Artist:     Seatrain
Title:     Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Lady
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Sea Train)
Writer(s):    Gregory/Roberts
Label:     Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:     1969
     Following the breakup of the Blues Project, two of the members, bassist/flautist Andy Kulberg and drummer Roy Blumenthal, relocated to San Francisco. They hooked up with Richard Greene (violin, keyboards, viola, vocals), John Gregory (guitar, vocals), Don Kretmar (bass, saxophone) and dedicated lyricist Jim Roberts to form Seatrain. Greene had been a member of Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, while Gregory was from the Mystery Trend. After releasing an album called Planned Obsolescence as the Blues Project to fullfill contractual obligations, the band made their official debut in 1969 with the album Sea Train. By the time their next album, Seatrain, came out in 1970, only Kulberg and Greene remained from the band's original lineup.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    El Nicoya
Source:    LP: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Chepito Areas
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    El Nicoya is a short instrumental piece from Santana's celebrated second LP, Abraxas. Following the album's third single, the hard-rocking Hope You're Feeling Better, to close out the album, El Nicoya is a return to the latino-flavored style that dominated the band's 1969 debut LP.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Fancy
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    Face To Face was the first Kinks album to consist entirely of songs written by Ray Davies. It is also generally considered to be the beginning of the Kinks' "golden age", with the band moving away from the hard-rocking, but simplistic songs that characterized their early period into the sardonic social commentary that would become a Kinks hallmark for the next several years. Face To Face was also far more experimental musically than the band's previous efforts, with songs like Fancy, one of the first songs to incorporate Indian influences into rock music.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Walk Away Renee
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Brown/Calilli/Sansune
Label:    Smash
Year:    1966
    The Left Banke's Walk Away Renee is one of the most covered songs in rock history, starting with a version by the Four Tops less than two years after the original recording had graced the top 5. The Left Banke version kicked off what was thought at the time to be the latest trend: baroque rock. The trend died an early death when the band members themselves made some tactical errors resulting in radio stations being hesitant to play their records.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     Psychodrama City
Source:     CD: Fifth Dimension (bonus track)
Writer:     David Crosby
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1966
     1966 was a pivotal year for the Byrds. Having lost their main songwriter, Gene Clark, both David Crosby and Jim McGuinn stepped up to provide original material for the band to record. Psychodrama City is really more of a studio jam with vocals added to it, but is interesting in that Crosby uses the opportunity to tell the story of why Clark had left the band (he had a fear of flying and had refused to board a plane to go on tour).

Artist:     Johnny Winter
Title:     Bad Luck And Trouble
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer:     Johnny Winter
Label:     United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year:     1968
     Johnny Winter first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who gravitated to glam rock, Johnny Winter remained primarily a blues musician throughout his career.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Dogs
Source:    CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor (original label: Track)
Year:    1968
    Possibly the most obscure (to US audiences) Who song of the psychedelic era was Dogs, a single released only in the UK in 1968. The song was inspired by guitarist Pete Townshend's friend Chris Morphet, who was a fan of greyhound racing. Dogs was the first Who track to be recorded using then state-of-the-art eight-track recording equipment, and Townshend would later refer to it as one of the songs recorded during a period when the group went "slightly mad." The song remained unreleased in the US until the 1987 compilation album Two's Missing. Originally recorded in mono, the song was remixed in stereo in 1994 for the 30 Years Of Maximum R&B box set.

Artist:    Senators
Title:    Psychedelic Senate
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Les Baxter
Label:    Captain High (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    If I had to pick the most unlikely person to record something psychedelic that actually did record something psychedelic, that person would have to be Les Baxter. Born in 1922, Baxter became well-known in the 1940s as a composer and arranger for various swing bands. By the 50s he was leading his own orchestra, recording his own brand of what came to be known as "exotica", easy-listening music flavored with elements taken from non-Western musical traditions. In the 1960s he scored dozens of movie soundtracks, including many for the relatively low-budget American International Pictures, working with people like Roger Corman on films like The Raven, The Pit  And The Pendulum and House Of Usher, as well as teen exploitation films like Beach Blanket Bingo. It was through this association that he got involved with a film called Wild In The Streets in 1968. Although much of the film's soundtrack was made up of songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and performed by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers, there were a few Baxter pieces included as well, including Psychedelic Senate, a bit of incidental music written to underscore a scene wherein the entire US Senate gets dosed on LSD.

Artist:    Quicksilver Messenger Service
Title:    Codine
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer:    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Rhino (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Buffy St. Marie's Codine was a popular favorite among the club crowd in mid-60s California. In 1967, L.A. band The Leaves included it on their second LP. Around the same time, up the coast in San Francisco, the Charlatans selected it to be their debut single. The suits at Kama-Sutra Records, however, balked at the choice, and instead released a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows. The novelty-flavored Shadow bombed so bad that the label decided not to release any more Charlatans tracks, thus leaving their version of Codine gathering dust in the vaults until the mid 1990s, when the entire Kama-Sutra sessions were released on CD. Meanwhile, back in 1968, Quicksilver Messenger Service were still without a record contract, despite pulling decent crowds at various Bay Area venues, including a credible appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. Not long after that the producers of the quasi-documentary film Revolution decided to include footage of three as-yet unsigned Bay Area bands, one of which was Quicksilver Messenger Service, who performed Codine in the film. Rather than use that performance for the soundtrack album, the producers chose to have the band re-record the song, making Codine the group's first officially released studio recording.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    On The Way Home
Source:    CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Last Time Around)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    Things fell apart for Buffalo Springfield following the drug bust and deportation of bassist Bruce Palmer in January of 1968. Neil Young stopped showing up for gigs, forcing Stephen Stills to carry all lead guitar duties for the band. By March, the band was defunct in everything but name. However, the group was still contractually obligated to provide Atco Records with one more album, so Richie Furay, along with replacement bassist Jim Messina, set about compiling a final Buffalo Springfield album from various studio tapes that the band members had made. None of these tapes featured the entire lineup of the band, although Neil Young's On The Way Home, which was chosen to open the album, came close, as it featured  Furay on lead vocals, Stills on guitar and backup vocals, and Palmer on bass as well as Young himself on lead guitar and backup vocals.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Roberta
Source:    Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released on LP: Animal Tracks)
Writer(s):    Smith/Vincent
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    Most of the tracks on the US version of the album Animal Tracks were not on the original British LP of the same name. In fact, only two songs are on both albums. One of those, Roberta, was considered strong enough to be included on the band's first Greatest Hits album, despite never having been released as a single.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    British import LP: Artifact
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Heartbeat
Year:    2001
    When the Electric Prunes reunited to record their first album of the 21st century they decided to stick mostly to original compositions. There were a couple exceptions, however, including an inventive cover of Arthur Lee's 7&7 Is. Although slower in tempo than Love's 1966 original recording, the Prunes' version of the tune is no less intense, albeit in a more subtle fashion.

Artist:    Big Boy Pete And The Squire
Title:    While The Cat's Away
Source:    CD: Hitmen
Writer(s):    Miller/Zajkowski
Label:    Rocket Racket
Year:    2013
    Once upon a time in the 1960s there was an Englishman named Peter "Big Boy" Miller, who wrote songs that were rejected by British record labels. Flash forward to Rochester, NY, in the year 2002, where Christopher Zajkowski, recording as Squires Of The Subterrain, decided to rework some of Miller's songs and record them for an album called Big Boy Treats. Even better, Miller himself flew to Rochester to produce the album. Flash forward again, this time to 2013. Miller and Zajkowski, working together, decide to write new lyrics for a bunch of songs Miller had written in 1967, including the somewhat whimsical (and very British) While The Cat's Away. The songs were included on a CD called Hitmen, released on Zajkowski's own Rocket Racket label.

Artist:    Claypool/Lennon Delirium
Title:    Breath Of A Salesman
Source:    LP: Monolith Of Phobos
Writer(s):    Claypool/Lennon
Label:    Ato
Year:    2016
    Fans of alternative rock are no doubt familiar with a band called Primus, led by bassist Les Claypool. One of the more colorful characters on the modern music scene, Claypool was once rejected by Metallica as being "too good" for them. Claypool himself has said that he thought James Hetfield was just being nice when he told him that, but the fact is that Claypool is indeed one of the most talented bass players (if not the best) in rock history. Sean Lennon is, of course, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Unlike his half-borther Julian, Sean has never felt the need to prove anything to anyone, and, thanks in large part to his mother's influence (and let's be honest here, money), has always felt free to pursue his own artistic path without having to bow to commercial pressures. The two of them met when their respective bands were on tour and they immediately recognized that they had a musical connection. That connection manifested itself in the album Monolith Of Phobos (a title inspired by Arthur Clarke's works), released in 2016. This week we check out Breath Of A Salesman, a song about people you really have no desire to hang out with showing up at your door anyway.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1965
    The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native L.A.ins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song (Love Minus Zero) to record as a single by their producer and allowed to write their own B side. In this case the intended B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and  guitarist Bill Rhinehart. Before the record was released, however, the producers decided that Too Many People was the stronger track and designated it the A side. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Stupid Girl
Source:    Simulated stereo CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By 1966 the songwriting team of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had hit its stride, turning out Rolling Stones classics like Mother's Little Helper and Paint It Black as a matter of course. Even B sides such as Stupid Girl were starting to get airplay on top 40 stations, a trend that would continue to grow over the next year or so.

Artist:    ? And The Mysterians
Title:    I Can't Get Enough Of You Baby
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Randle/Linzer
Label:    Abkco (original label: Cameo)
Year:    1967
    ? And The Mysterians' 1966 hit 96 Tears was the last song on the legendary Cameo label to hit the top 10 before the label went bankrupt in 1967 (and was bought by Allan Klein, who still reissues old Cameo-Parkway recordings on his Abkco label). Shortly before that bankruptcy was declared, however, the group released Can't Get Enough Of You Baby, which, in the absence of any promotion from the label, stalled out in the lower reaches of the charts. The song itself, however, finally achieved massive popularity at the end of the century, when a new version of the tune by Smash Mouth went to the top of the charts.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Morning Sun
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released on LP: With Their New Faces On)
Writer(s):    Davis/Hardin/Duncan/James
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Following the departure of brothers Steve and Muff Winwood, the Spencer Davis Group attempted to carry on with new members, releasing an album, With Their New Faces On, in mid-1968. The album, however, failed to chart, despite the presence of strong tunes such as Morning Sun.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    All The World Is Love
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    EMI (original US label: Imperial)
Year:    1967
    The Hollies are not exactly the first band that comes to mind when you mention the British version of the psychedelia. In fact, they prided themselves for being about as blue-collar as it gets. Still, thanks to Graham Nash, they did do just a tiny bit of psychedelic experimentation (music-wise) on their two 1967 LPs, Evolution and Butterfly, with Nash providing lead vocals on more songs than on the band's previous albums. These two albums were preceded by a single, On A Carousel, that also featured Nash as lead vocalist. The B side, All The World Is Love, is even more interesting, as it features some pretty wild vocal harmonies from Nash at the end of each chorus.

Artist:    Fingers
Title:    Circus With A Female Clown
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Robin/Mills/Ducky
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the first British bands to label themselves as "psychedelic", the Fingers included as part of their stage show a monkey named Freak Out, whom the band members claimed produced "psychotic" odors. The band only released two singles, however. The second of these had the truly strange Circus With A Female Clown on its B side. The somewhat more conventional A side failed to chart, however, and the group broke up soon after the record was released.
Artist:     Procol Harum
Title:     Lime Street Blues
Source:     Mono LP: Best of Procol Harum (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Brooker/Reid
Label:     A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:     1967
     Anyone expecting more of the same when flipping over their new copy of A Whiter Shade Of Pale got a big surprise when they heard Lime Street Blues. The song, reminiscent of an early Ray Charles track, was strong enough to be included on their first greatest hits collection, no mean feat for a B side.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Outskirts Of Town
Source:    CD: Fillmore East February 1970
Writer(s):    Weldon/Jordan
Label:    Bear's Sonic Journals (original label: Grateful Dead)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1996, remastered version released 2018
    Owsley "Bear" Stanley, in addition to his legendary skills as a chemist, was perhaps the best live sound man of his time. He also loved to make recordings directly from the sound board that he referred to as his sonic "diary" of his work as a sound man. In addition to the Dead, Bear made recordings of several other bands that he ran sound for over the years, including the Allman Brothers Band, who showed up at the Fillmore East in February of 1970 to share the bill with the Grateful Dead. The Allman Brothers had no sound man of their own at that time, so Bear stepped up to do the sound for their three shows, and, of course, he taped them all. In his original 1996 liner notes Bear credited John Chester, who built the sound board for the Fillmore East, for the unusually clean sound (for that time) of the recordings themselves, which were basically the board mix with a couple of extra mikes on guitar and bass for added presence. The setlist itself was similar to what would appear on the 1971 album At Fillmore East, with a couple of cover songs that would later give way to more original material in the band's live sets. One of those two cover songs was Outskirts Of Town, originally recorded in 1936 by Piedmont blues musician Casey Bill Weldon under the title We Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town. As interpreted by the Allman Brothers Band, the track runs a bit over eight minutes in length.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title:    Blues-Part II/Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Writer(s):    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Although it was the brainchild of keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper, the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears had its greatest success after Kooper left the band following the release of their debut LP, Child Is Father To The Man. The group's self-titled second LP, featuring new lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, yielded no less than three top 5 singles: You Made Me So Very Happy, Spinning Wheel, and And When I Die. For me, however, the outstanding track on the album was the thirteen and a half minute Blues-Part II, which takes up most of side two of the original LP. I first heard this track on a show that ran late at night on AFN in Germany. I had already heard the band's first two hit singles and was not particularly impressed with them, but after hearing Blues-Part II I went out and bought a copy of the LP. Luckily, it was not the only track on the album that I found more appealing than the singles (God Bless The Child in particular stands out), but it still, after all these years, is my favorite BS&T recording.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion (starts 1/25/21)

    This week we have a series of singles from 1968 to 1973, followed by a set of longer album tracks to finish out the hour. First, though, a seldom heard tune from Mother Earth's 1970 LP Satisfied.

Artist:    Mother Earth
Title:    Get Out Of Here
Source:    LP: Satisfied
Writer(s):    B. Charles
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1970
    Although formed in San Francisco and originally known for its live performances in the Bay Area, Mother Earth relocated to a country house outside of Nashville, Tennessee soon after the release of their first LP, Living With The Animals. Not all of the original band members made the move, however, and by the time the group's 1970 LP Satisfied was released, only bandleader Tracy Nelson remained from the original lineup. The album itself is made up mainly of cover songs such as Get Out Of Here. I have not been able to find any information on the credited songwriter, B. Charles, however. I suppose it could be a misprint substituting a B for an R, but it doesn't sound much like a Ray Charles song to me, either.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them have become better known than the original Dylan versions. Probably the most notable of these is the Jimi Hendrix version of All Along The Watchtower from the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    After releasing a fairly well produced debut solo album utilizing the talents of several well-known studio musicians in late 1968, Neil Young surprised everyone by recruiting an unknown L.A. bar band called the Rockets and rechristening them Crazy Horse for his second effort, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. The album was raw and unpolished, with Young's lead vocals recorded using a talkback microphone normally used by engineers to communicate with people in the studio from the control room. In spite of (or more likely because of) these limitations, the resulting album has come to be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of rock, with Young sounding far more comfortable, both as a vocalist and guitarist, than on the previous effort. Although the album is best known for three songs he wrote while running a fever (Cinnamon Girl, Cowgirl In The Sand, and Down By The River), there are plenty of good other songs on the LP, including the title track heard here.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    Bus Rider
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Guess Who (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Kurt Winter
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1970
    When Randy Bachman suddenly quit the band he had co-founded ten years before, the Guess Who frantically searched for a replacement guitarist. They ended up with two, Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw. Both had been members of the Winnipeg-based Gettysburg Address, and Winter had recently formed a power trio named Brother that was considered to be Winnipeg's first supergroup. Winter brought a couple of Brother's songs along with him when he joined the Guess Who, one of which, Bus Rider, was issued as a B side in September of 1970 and included as the opening track on the band's Share The Land album the following month. The song also appeared on The Best Of The Guess Who, released in 1971.

Artist:    T. Rex
Title:    Bang A Gong (Get It On)
Source:    LP: Electric Warrior
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    My memories of my senior year of high school are somewhat spotty. Some things I remember quite vividly, yet have forgotten the context that those memories reside in. For instance, I clearly remember being at my friend Dave's cheap apartment in early 1971 in Alamogordo, NM, listening to the Tyrannosaurus Rex album Unicorn on an even cheaper stereo. What I don't remember is how I got to Dave's cheap apartment that particular night or whether I crashed there or went back to my parent's house. For that matter, I don't even remember if anyone else was there or not that night, not even Dave's kind-of girlfriend, who came and went as she pleased anyway. I do remember, however, discussing with Dave how strange this psychedelic folk music with fantasy-based lyrics sounded compared to rock bands like the Allman Brothers, Ten Years After and Santana, and in particular how weird the singer's voice sounded to us. To us, it was truly underground stuff along the lines of the Incredible String Band, with no commercial potential. Imagine my surprise when, a few months later, I heard that same weird voice on top 40 radio singing Bang A Gong (Get It On). It turns out that Marc Bolan had originally been a lead guitarist with a psychedelic band called John's Children, but had hooked up with drummer Steve Peregrine Took to form Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1967, eschewing electric instruments entirely for three albums' worth of material, the third of which was the aforementioned Unicorn. The two of them had a falling out, however, with Took moving on to other things while a newly re-electrified Bolan added new members and shortened the name of the group to T. Rex. From 1970 to 1973 T. Rex scored 11 consecutive top 10 singles on the British charts, four of them (including Get It On) going to the #1 spot. The actual title of the song, incidentally is Get It On, but, due to a band called Chase having a US hit with a song called Get It On in 1971, it was decided to retitle the tune Bang A Gong (Get It On) for its US release.

Artist:    Mott The Hoople
Title:    All The Young Dudes
Source:    CD: Electric 70s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Warner Special Products/JCI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1972
    After three years and four albums for Island Records (released on Atlantic in the US), Mott The Hoople was on the verge of breaking up when David Bowie gave them the song All The Young Dudes to record. The single, released in 1972, turned Mott overnight from nearly extinct also-rans to leaders of the glam-rock movement. Oddly enough, Bowie later claimed that the song was not intended to be an anthem at all; rather it was a precursor to his next album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, and that the "news" that the young dudes were proclaiming was the apocalyptic fact that Earth had five years left, the same message that opens Ziggy Stardust.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Plastic Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Norman Whitfield
Label:    Motown Yesteryear (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1973
    By 1973 Norman Whitfield had firmly established a reputation as Motown's most experimental producer/songwriter. Working mostly with the Temptations, Whitfield's productions emphasized the musicianship of the label's studio players, known informally as the Funk Brothers. The songs themselves showed the influence of contemporary non-Motown groups such as Sly And The Family Stone and Funkadelic. The album Masterpiece featured a nearly fourteen minute long title track that only had about three minutes' worth of vocals, a ratio that did not sit well with longtime Temptations fans or the group itself. Nonetheless, Masterpiece netted Whitfield and the Temptations a total of three singles that made the top 10 on the R&B charts, including Plastic Man, which went to the #8 spot. The song, a cautionary tune about untrustworthy people, scraped the bottom of the top 40 chart as well.

Artist:    Frank Zappa
Title:    Uncle Remus
Source:    CD: Apostrophe (')
Writer(s):    Zappa/Duke
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1974
    One of the shortest free-standing songs in the entire Frank Zappa catalogue, Uncle Remus is a bit of a rarity in that it was a collaboration with another musician, George Duke, who also performs on the track. The song itself is more serious in tone than the rest of the tunes on the Apostrophe (') album, dealing as it does with the subject of continuing racism in America.

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Taunta (Sammy's Tune)/Nantucket Sleighride (For Owen Coffin)
Source:    LP: Nantucket Sleighride
Writer(s):    Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Windfall
Year:    1971
    Mountain, formed in 1970, took its name from Leslie West's 1969 solo album, recorded after the guitarist shortened his name from Weinstein following the breakup of the Vagrants. Just as important to the band's sound, however, was Felix Pappalardi, sometimes known as the "fourth member" of Cream. Pappalardi had produced all but the first Cream album, and, along with his wife Janet Collins, helped write some of their best material, including Strange Brew, which opened the second Cream album, Disraeli Gears. As a member of Mountain, Pappalardi played keyboards and bass, as well as singing lead vocals on several of the band's most popular tunes, including Nantucket Sleighride (For Owen Coffin), the title track of Mountain's second LP. The song is based on the true story of the Essex, a whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. Owen Coffin, a young seaman on the ship, was killed and eaten by his shipmates following the sinking. The term "Nantucket Sleighride" refers to the experience of being towed along in a boat by a harpooned whale. The song is generally preceded by a short instrumental piece called Taunta (Sammy's Tune), which was named after Pappalardi's pet poodle.

Artist:     Led Zeppelin
Title:     Your Time Is Gonna Come/Black Mountain Side/Communication Breakdown
Source:     CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Year:     1969
    One of the great ironies of Led Zeppelin is that half the members of a band that was revered for its live performances were in fact in-demand studio musicians long before they started performing live. Your Time Is Gonna Come and Black Mountain Side, from the debut Zeppelin album was written by those two members, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The two songs run together on the album, and are immediately followed by the B side of the band's first single, Communication Breakdown. I'm pretty sure that back when the album first came out, some unknown DJ was unable to stop the turntable fast enough to cut off Communication Breakdown and ended up just letting the two and a half minute track play on through. Somebody liked the way it sounded and the three have been played as a continuous set ever since. Who am I to argue with a tradition like that?

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Queen Of Torture
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer:    Upton/Turner/Turner/Powell
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    One of the first bands to use dual lead guitars was Wishbone Ash. When Glen Turner, the band's original guitarist, had to leave, auditions were held, but the remaining members and their manager couldn't decide between the two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner, so they kept both of them. Queen Of Torture, from their 1969 debut album, shows just how well the two guitars meshed.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive (live version)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    Vocal tracks recorded 1970, new instrumental tracks added 1983.
    In 1983 Elektra Records compiled a "new" live Doors album made up of performances recorded from 1967 to 1970 called Alive, She Cried. The final track on the album was a 1970 version of Moonlight Drive that incorporates Jim Morrison's poem Horse Latitudes, which had preceded Moonlight Drive on the 1967 studio LP Strange Days. The only source I could find for track information states that Morrison's vocal was from a 1970 live performance, with instrumental overdubs added later.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    The Fool And Me
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Guitarist Robin Trower's breakthrough album, Bridge Of Sighs, featured vocals by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote a couple of the songs on the LP. The best of these was The Fool And Me, which closes out side one of the original LP. Drummer Reg Isidore completed the trio.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2104 (starts 1/18/21)

    This week's show features a rather long Jimi Hendrix set, the bulk of which is made up of tracks from the live Band Of Gypsys LP. We also have a Simon & Garfunkel set, and quite a few rarities, especially in the final half hour of the show. We start off, however, with one of the most iconic songs of 1965...

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals. This expanded version of the album first appeared on the ABKCO label in 1973, but with the American, rather than the British, version of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. With all this in mind, I looked for, and finally found, a copy of the original US single.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bayer/Carr/D'errico
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    She Has Funny Cars
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Kaukonen/Balin
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    She Has Funny Cars, the opening track of Jefferson Airplane's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was a reference to some unusual possessions belonging to new drummer Spencer Dryden's girlfriend. As was the case with many of the early Airplane tracks, the title has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song itself. The song was also released as the B side to the band's first top 10 single, Somebody To Love.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers aka 13th Power
Title:    Fourteen Or Fight
Source:    LP: Wild In The Streets (soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    When American International Pictures decided to do a feature film called Wild In The Streets, based on Robert Thom's short story The Day It All Happened, Baby, they brought in one of the Brill building's most successful songwriting teams, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to write songs for the film's fictional band led by Max Frost to perform. The husband and wife team had already created plenty of classic hits, including On Broadway, Kicks and We Gotta Get Out Of This Place, so it was no surprise that the film's showcase song, Shape Of Things To Come, made it into the top 40, and has become one of the iconic songs of the 60s. Not all of the songs in the film were up to the same standard, however. A couple of them, including Fourteen Or Fight, are notable more for being integral to the film's plot than for their quality as songs. In fact, outside of the context of the movie, Fourteen Or Fight has to be one of the stupidest songs ever to get recorded. Although credited on the soundtrack album to the 13th Power (an actual band originally known as the Moms) Fourteen Or Fight was in all likelihood performed entirely by studio musicians, with 13th Power's Paul Wibier as the probable vocalist, although it is also possible that actor Christopher Jones, who played Max Frost, sang the song himself. Since actual documentation of the album's soundtrack is virtually non-existent, nobody seems to know for sure.

Artist:     Van Dyke Parks
Title:     Come To The Sunshine
Source:     Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Van Dyke Parks
Label:     Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1966
     Van Dyke Parks is probably best known for being Brian Wilson's collaborator of choice for the legendary (but unreleased) Smile album. Parks, however, did have an identity of his own, as this recording of Come To The Sunshine shows. The song became a minor hit for WB labelmates Harper's Bizarre, although it did not have nearly the success of their first effort, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s (which is rather ironic, considering that they were actually based in Berkeley on the other side of the bay and rarely visited the city itself, except to play gigs). Their first two releases were EPs included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    My Mirage
Source:    LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    One thing about Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. That's a bit of a shame, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there, such as My Mirage, a Doug Ingle composition that helped lay the groundwork for the progressive rock movement of the 1970s.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Ballad Of John And Yoko
Source:    CD: Past Masters-volume two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1969
    The Ballad Of John And Yoko probably has more in common with The Beatles (White Album), than any other single released by the band. John Lennon had written the song as a chronicle of recent events in his life, and on April 19, 1969 had presented the song to Paul McCartney at his home. The two of them recorded the song that night, with John on guitars and lead vocals and Paul playing bass and drums. Neither George Harrison (who was on vacation at the time) or Ringo Starr (who was co-starring with Peter Sellers in a movie called The Magic Christian) are on the recording, although both appear on the  B side of the single, the Harrison-penned Old Brown Shoe.

Artist:    Mamas And The Papas
Title:    California Dreamin'
Source:    LP: 20 Golden Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Phillips
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1965
    California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John Phillips, who along with his wife Michelle was living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source:     CD: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1965
     In their early days the Byrds established themselves as the premier interpreters of Bob Dylan songs, helping to popularize the folk-rock movement in the process. Although not released as a single, The Times They Are A-Changin' was a staple of the band's live sets at Ciro's Le Disc on Sunset Strip and on the road.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Look For Me Baby
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Forget all the hits recorded and/or released by the Kinks in 1965 for a moment. Look For Me Baby, the leadoff track from the LP Kinda Kinks, is the defining Kinks song from the year, even though it was never released as a single. It has the melodic elements of tracks like Set Me Free, combined with the edginess of Til The End Of The Day.

Artist:    Hearts And Flowers
Title:    Rock And Roll Gypsies
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women)
Writer(s):    Roger Tillison
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Led by singer/songwriters Larry Murray and Dave Dawson, Hearts And Flowers is best known for launching the career of guitarist/vocalist Bernie Leadon, who joined the group for their second LP and would later go on to co-found the Eagles (he is now a producer in Nashville). That second album, Of Houses, Kids And Forgotten Women, is generally considered the most accessible of the group's three albums, and included the song Rock And Roll Gypsies, which was included on the Homer movie soundtrack album in 1970.

Artist:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    Mobius Trip
Source:    CD: Two Classic Albums from H. P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft II)
Writer(s):    George Edwards
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Philips)
Year:    1968
    The second album by H.P. Lovecraft (the band, not the author) is sometimes referred to as the ultimate acid rock album. In fact, it has been rumoured to be the first album made entirely under the influence of LSD (although the same has been said of the 1967 Jefferson Airplane LP After Bathing At Baxter's and both albums by the 13th Floor Elevators as well). This may in part because the band had relocated from their native Chicago to Marin County, California, where they shared billing with established Bay Area bands like Big Brother and the Holding Company and the aforementioned Jefferson Airplane. The album also featured more original material than the band's debut LP, including the lounge-lizard-on-acid sounding Mobius Trip.

Artist:     Blood, Sweat and Tears
Title:     House In The Country
Source:     LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer:     Al Kooper
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
    Al Kooper was, by 1968, one of the most respected musicians in New York, having played organ on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album and then become a member of the seminal jam band the Blues Project. After leaving that group in 1967 he made an appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival with a pickup band. Later that same year he formed a new band called Blood, Sweat And Tears that included a horn section as part of the band itself. Kooper wrote most of the band's original material for their first album, including House In The Country. Shortly after Child Is Father To The Man was released, Kooper left the group to become a staff producer at Columbia Records. While working in that capacity he came up with the surprise hit album of 1968: the classic Super Session album with Michael Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. Kooper remained active as a producer, guitarist and keyboardist for the remainder of the century, working with an array of talent, including B.B. King, the Rolling Stones, Rita Coolidge and the Who.
After moving to Atlanta in 1972 he discovered a local band named Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their first three albums, as well as the Tubes' debut LP in 1975. Al Kooper has been officially retired since 2001, although he still plays weekend concerts in Boston with his bands the ReKooperators and the Funky Faculty.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Blue Avenue
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    One of Boston's most popular bands, the Beacon Street Union, had already migrated to New York City by the time their first album, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union (produced by the legendary Tom Wilson), made its debut in February of 1968. The band itself was made up of Boston University dropouts John Lincoln Wright (lead vocals), Paul Tartachny (guitar, vocals), Robert Rhodes (keyboards, brass), Richard Weisberg (drums), and Wayne Ulaky (bass). Ulaky wrote what was probably the band's best-known song, Blue Avenue. The tune was particular popular in the UK, where it was often heard on John Peel's Top Gear program. The Beacon Street Union, however, fell victim to hype; in this case the ill-advised attempt on the part of M-G-M records to market several disparate bands as being part of the "boss-town sound". After a second LP, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (produced by future Partridge Family impressario Wes Farrell) failed to equal the somewhat limited success of their debut LP, the Beacon Street Union decided to call it quits.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Soul Sacrifice
Source:    European import CD:Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Woodstock)
Writer(s):    Brown/Malone/Rolie/Santana
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    The producers of the original Woodstock movie soundtrack album were less concerned with presenting faithful renditions of the various live performances seen in the movie than they were with making the best sounding album possible. Accordingly, they edited some of the performances and, in some cases, subsitituted other non-Woodstock versions of songs heard in the movie. One of the edits that actually worked pretty well was cross-fading the crowd singing a wordless refrain that has come to be known as the Crowd Rain Chant into Santana's Soul Sacrifice, the instrumental piece that lifted Santana into the upper echelon of rock royalty. What many don't realize is that nearly five minutes of Santana's actual performance is edited out of the track entirely. I usually play the full eleven and a half minute version of the performance, but, just for a change of pace, here is the track as initially released on the Woodstock soundtrack album, rain chant and all. 

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    Island (original US 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:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Who Knows
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    The first song you hear on an album may not always be the best song on the album, but it is usually the first one that comes to mind whenever that album is mentioned. Such is the case with Who Knows, which opens the Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys album. The thing is, it really isn't much of a song at all, just a sequence of ten notes repeated over and over with occasional vocals and guitar solos on top. It was, however, a fun song to jam on, as it only took a few seconds to learn the basic riff.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    House Burning Down
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix (Band Of Gypsys)
Title:    Power Of Soul
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    1969 was a strange year for Jimi Hendrix. For one thing, he did not release any new recordings that year, yet he remained the top money maker in rock music. One reason for the lack of new material was an ongoing dispute with Capitol Records over a contract he had signed in 1965. By the end of the year an agreement was reached for Hendrix to provide Capitol with one album's worth of new material. At this point Hendrix had not released any live albums, so it was decided to tape his New Year's performances at the Fillmore East with his new Band Of Gypsys (with drummer Buddy Miles and bassist Billy Cox), playing songs that had never been released in studio form. One of those songs is Power Of Soul, which includes an impromptu vocal ad-lib from drummer Buddy Miles toward the end of the track.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Most Peculiar Man
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    You would think that a high school on a US military facility would be inclined to use the most staunchly traditional teaching methods known to man. Surprisingly, though, this was not the case at General H. H. Arnold High School in Weisbaden, Germany in late 1967. In fact, the English department was teaching some sort of new system that dispensed with terms such as verb and noun and replaced them with a more conceptual approach to language. What I best remember about my Freshman English class is the day that my rather Bohemian teacher (he wore sandals to class!), actually brought in a copy of the Sounds Of Silence and had us dissect two songs from the album, Richard Cory and A Most Peculiar Man. We spent several classes discussing the similarities (they both deal with a suicide by someone representing a particular archetype) and differences (the methods used and the archetypes themselves) between the songs. I have forgotten everything else about that class and its so-called revolutionary approach, but those two songs have stayed with me my entire life. I guess that teacher (whose name I have unfortunately forgotten) was on to something.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    After the surprise success of the Sound Of Silence single, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel (who had disbanded their partnership after the seeming failure of their Wednesday Morning 3 AM album in 1964) hastily reunited to record a new LP, Sounds Of Silence. The album, released in early 1966, consisted mostly of electrified versions of songs previously written by Simon, many of which had appeared in the UK in acoustic form on his 1965 solo LP The Paul Simon Songbook. With their newfound success, the duo set about recording an album's worth of new material. This time around, however, Simon had the time (and knowledge of what was working for the duo) to compose songs that would play to both the strengths of himself and Garfunkel as vocalists, as well as take advantage of the additional instrumentation available to him. The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme, featuring tracks such as The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine, an energetic piece satirizing rampant consumerism and the advertising industry.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovey Thing Going
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to perform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using some of the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovey Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovey Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966 and reunited with Art Garfunkel. The rest is history.

Artist:     Ten Years After
Title:     Circles
Source:     CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer:     Alvin Lee
Label:     Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:     1970
     Cricklewood Green continued the development of Ten Years After away from its blues roots and toward a more progressive rock sound that would ultimately lead them to their only top 40 hit, I'd Love To Change The World. That song, however, was still a couple albums in the future when Cricklewood Green was released in 1970. The seldom-heard Circles starts off as a quiet acoustic solo piece from Alvin Lee before adding the rest of the band later in the song.
Artist:    Spirit
Title:    New Dope In Town
Source:    LP: Spirit (originally released on LP: Clear)
Writer(s):    Andes/California/Cassidy/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1969
    The third Spirit album, Clear, is generally considered the weakest of the four albums released by the band's original lineup. The main reason for this is fatigue. The group had released two albums in 1968, along with providing the soundtrack for the film Model Shop in early 1969 and constantly touring throughout the entire period. This left them little time to develop the material that would be included on Clear. There are a few strong tracks on the LP, however, among them New Dope In Town, which closes out the original LP. Like Elijah, from their debut album, New Dope In Town is credited to the entire band, and was included on a CBS Records sampler album called Underground '70 that was released in Germany (on purple vinyl, even) around Christmastime.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Spontaneous Apple Creation
Source:    British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Writer(s):    Brown/Crane
Label:    Uncut (original US label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    One of the most revered examples of British psychedelia is the 1968 album The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. While side one was done as a concept album about Hell, side two was a mixture of original tunes and the most popular cover songs from the band's live repertoire. Among the originals on side two is Spontaneous Apple Creation, possibly the most avant-garde piece on the album. Once you hear it, you'll know exactly what I mean by that.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Rugs Of Wood And Flowers
Source:    Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Nichols
Label:    Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    The Turtles were best known for their big hit records like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me, both of which came from outside songwriters. The band had a weird side, however, that usually showed up on their self-penned B sides and an occasional album track. One example is Rugs Of Wood And Flowers, which appeared as the B side of You Know What I Mean in 1967. The song, written by vocalist Howard Kaylan and guitarist Al Nichol,  features Kaylan using a faux-operatic style that he would revive for his legendary performances with the Mothers at the Fillmore East in 1971.

Artist:    The Raik's Progress
Title:    Sewer Rat Love Chant
Source:    Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Kates/Krikorian/Scott
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1966
    Fresno, California, was home to the Raik's Progress, once described as "a bunch of 17-year-old quasi-intellectual proto-punks" by frontman Steve Krikorian. The band only released one single, a tune called Why Did You Rob Us, Tank? The B side of that single had an even stranger title: Sewer Rat Love Chant. It makes me wish they had been able to release more records before Krikorian morphed into 80s new wave star Tonio K.

Artist:    Glass Family
Title:    House Of Glass
Source:    LP: The Glass Family Electric Band
Writer(s):    Ralph Parrett
Label:    Maplewood (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    The Glass Family (Ralph Parrett, David Capilouto and Gary Green) first surfaced in 1967 with a single called Teenage Rebellion on Mike Curb's Sidewalk label. The following year they signed with Warner Brothers, releasing their only LP, The Glass Family Electric Band, that same year. The opening track from the album, House Of Glass, is, in the words of Capilouto, self-explanatory, which is a good thing, as it saves me the trouble of trying to figure out what it's about.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Slide Machine
Source:    Mono British import CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    R. P. St. John
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    Following a successful tour of Southern California in late 1966, the 13th Floor Elevators returned to their native Austin, Texas to begin work on a second LP. Unlike the first album, which (like most debut efforts of the time) was recorded in a matter of days, Easter Anywhere took several months to complete. During that time the band underwent personnel changes and a continuously deteriorating relationship with Internation Artists Records, which kept setting up inappropriate gigs instate when the band would have been better served building up a national following. In addition, some of the band members were exhibiting increasingly bizarre behavior due to excessive drug use, which slowed work on the album down considerably. One more factor contributing to the tardiness of the LP was the band's desire to make an album that would be thematically consistent throughout rather than a random collection of songs like their debut LP had been. The fact that the theme itself was pretty cosmic made it that much harder to capture in the recording studio. Although nearly all the material on the album was written by the band members themselves, one track, Slide Machine, was credited to the mysterious R.P. St. John, who became considerably less mysterious after he moved to San Francisco and, as Powell St. John, co-founded Mother Earth with singer/songwriter Tracy Nelson.