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...
Title: Fresh Garbage
Source: CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Label: Epic (original label: Ode)
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.
Title: Love Street
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
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.
Title: Cry Baby Cry
Source: LP: The Beatles
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.
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)
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
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.
Title: Mellow Yellow
Source: Mono CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
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.
Title: She's My Girl
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: White Whale)
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
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.
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: A&M)
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.
Title: El Nicoya
Source: LP: Abraxas
Writer(s): Chepito Areas
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.
Source: Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
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)
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.
Title: Psychodrama City
Source: CD: Fifth Dimension (bonus track)
Writer: David Crosby
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)
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.
Source: CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: Polydor (original label: Track)
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.
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)
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
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)
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
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.
Source: Mono LP: The Best Of The Animals (originally released on LP: Animal Tracks)
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
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
Label: Rocket Racket
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
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.
Title: Too Many People
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: Cameo)
? 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)
Label: Grapefruit (original label: United Artists)
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.
Title: All The World Is Love
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: EMI (original US label: Imperial)
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.
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)
Label: EMI (original label: Columbia)
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)
Label: A&M (original label: Deram)
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
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
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.