Sunday, March 28, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2114 (starts 3/29/21) 

    This week we pull out some of the big guns, artists that would influence rock for many years beyond the psychedelic era itself. That list includes an all-British set that features the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Blossom Toes, Cream and the Who. We don't entirely neglect less influential but just as important artists such as the Rising Sons, the Charlatans and the Zombies, though. In fact, we have a rather unusual Advanced Psych segment that features three tracks from the 21st century version of the Electric Prunes, all of which were written by original members James Lowe and Mark Tulin.

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 was 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:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on. Especially the spoken part in the middle, when Jimi says the words "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want." It sounds like he's inside your head with you.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    On The Road Again
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jones/Wilson
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed by a group of blues record collectors in San Francisco. Although their first album consisted entirely of cover songs, by their 1968 album Boogie With Canned Heat they were starting to compose their own material, albeit in a style that remained consistent with their blues roots. On The Road Again, the band's second and most successful single (peaking at # 16) from that album, is actually an updated version of a 1953 recording by Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones (which was in turn adapted from delta bluesman Tommy Johnson's 1928 recording of a song called Big Road Blues) that guitarist/vocalist Al "Blind Owl" Wilson reworked, adding a tambura drone to give the track a more psychedelic feel. Wilson actually had to retune the sixth hole of his harmonica for his solo on the track.

Artist:    Charlatans
Title:    Alabama Bound
Source:    CD: The Charlatans
Writer(s):    Trad, arr. the Charlatans
Label:    One Way (original label: Philips)
Year:    1969
    Although the Charlatans are generally acknowledged as the godfathers of the San Francisco music scene, they put out very little recorded material during their existence. Formed in 1964, the band released their first single in 1966. Unfortunately, Kama Sutra Records went against the band's wishes and issued a cover of an old Coasters song instead of the band's interpretation of Buffy St. Marie's Codine. As anyone not working for a record company would expect, The Shadow Knows went nowhere, and the rest of the band's recordings for the label got shelved. Three years later the Charlatans finally got to record an album, but by then they had lost half of their original members and were basically an anachronism (ironic, since their visual motif had been to dress up in Old West style clothing). One of the more notable tracks on that 1969 album was the group's signature song, a traditional tune called Alabama Bound that dates back at least as far as the Great Depression. The Charlatans had recorded the song a couple times before, but the 1969 version was actually the first to see the light of day.

Artist:    Taos
Title:    Climbing Up The Mountain
Source:    LP: Taos
Writer(s):    Taos
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1970
    As near as I can tell, Taos might well be the ultimate Hippie band, having been founded by five young men who had moved to the legendary Taos Commune sometime prior to 1970. The five included Jeff Baker on guitar and vocals, Steve Oppenheim on keyboards and vocals, Albie Ciappa on drums, Burt Levine on guitar and banjo, and Kit Bedford on bass. The band's songwriting showed a strong Grateful Dead influence, with almost British-sounding harmony vocals (obviously worked on heavily between their electric practice sessions) being their greatest strength on songs like Climbing Up The Mountain.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Swing Low Sweet Cheerio
Source:    CD: Pretties For You
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Dunaway/Bruce/Buxton
Label:    Rhino/Bizarre/Straight
Year:    1969
    The first Alice Cooper LP, Pretties For You, was by far the most psychedelic album ever recorded by the group. The album was recorded in one day; in fact, according to the band's manager, the entire album was made up of rehearsals that were recorded by Frank Zappa's brother. Pretties For You, like just about everything on Zappa's Straight label, was rooted in the avant-garde, and was not a commercial success, although some tracks, such as Swing Low Sweet Cheerio, certainly showed that the band had plenty of instrumental prowess. The song is also notable for having the lead vocals sung by rhythm guitarist Michael Bruce rather than Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier) himself.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    2000 Light Years From Home
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    Nowhere was the ripple effect of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band more blatantly obvious than on the Rolling Stones fall 1967 release Their Satanic Majesties Request. The cover featured the band members in various sorcerous regalia in a seven-inch picture on the kind of holographic paper used for "magic rings" found in bubble-gum machines and pasted over regular album-cover stock, which was a simple pattern of faded white circles on a blue background (it kind of looked like dark wallpaper). Musically it was the most psychedelic Stones album ever released. Interesting enough, different songs were released as singles in different countries. In the US the single was She's A Rainbow, while in Germany and the Netherlands 2,000 Light Years From Home (the US B side of She's A Rainbow) got significant airplay, making the top 5 in both countries.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    Stereo British import 45 RPM EP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Common practice in the UK in the 1960s was to avoid duplication between single releases and album tracks. This led to a unique situation for the Beatles and their British label, EMI/Parlophone, in December of 1967. The band had self-produced a new telefilm to be shown on BBC-TV called Magical Mystery Tour and wanted to make the songs from the film available to the record-buying public in time for Christmas. The problem was that there were only six songs in the one-hour telefilm, not nearly enough to fill an entire album. The solution was to release the songs on a pair of Extended Play 45 RPM records, along with several pages of song lyrics, illustrations and stills from the film itself. My own introduction to Magical Mystery Tour was a friend's German copy of the EPs, and when years later I had the opportunity to pick up a copy of the original UK version, I of course couldn't resist. That copy got totalled in a flood a few years back, but in 2012 I was finally able to locate another copy of the EP set, which is the source of this week's airing of the ultimate British psychedelic recording, I Am The Walrus. This British EP version has a slightly longer intro than the more familiar US LP/CD release.

Artist:    Blossom Toes
Title:    When The Alarm Clock Rings
Source:    British import CD: We Are Ever So Clean
Writer(s):    Jim Cregan
Label:    Sunbeam (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    Originally known as the Ingoes, Blossom Toes were discovered playing in Paris (where they had released an EP) by Giorgio Gomelsky, manager of the Yardbirds, who signed them to his own label, Marmalade, in 1967. Everyone on the British music scene was talking about (and listening to) the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, trying to figure out how to apply the album's advanced production techniques to their own material, including Gomelsky and Blossom Toes. The result was an album called We Are Ever So Clean, one of the first post-Sgt. Pepper albums to be released in the UK. When The Alarm Clock Rings shows just how strong the Sgt. Pepper's influence was in late 1967.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer:    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 4-6 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands (US single version)
Source:    Mono LP: Who's Missing (originally released only in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original 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:    Rising Sons
Title:    11th Street Overcrossing
Source:    CD: The Rising Sons, featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder
Writer(s):    Jesse Lee Kincaid
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1992
    Jesse Lee Kincaid (born Nick Gerlach), learned to play 12-string guitar from his uncle, the legendary Fred Gerlach, when he was about 12 year old. At age 19 he left his native California and headed east, where, after a short stay in New York, he ended up as part of the Cambridge, Mass. folk scene. It was there that he met and formed a musical partnership with a young folk/blues singer/guitarist named Ry Cooder. The two soon moved out to California, where they formed a band called the Rising Sons in 1964 with slide guitarist Ry Cooder, bassist Gary Marker and drummer Ed Cassidy. The band became a popular attraction on the L.A. club scene, gigging often at the Troubador and the Ash Grove, and were considered on a par with the Byrds. After Cassidy left the band with a wrist injury in 1965 he was replaced by Kevin Kelley; not long after that the band was signed by Columbia Records. Columbia, having little experience with rock bands, assigned Terry Melcher (a surf-era veteran who also worked with the Byrds and Paul Revere And The Raiders) to produce the Rising Sons. By this time the band had developed a bit of a split personality, with Majal and Cooder favoring traditional blues while Kincaid's songs, a good example being 11th Street Overcrossing, were influenced more by the British Invasion.     Although the Rising Sons recorded an album's worth of material for Columbia only one single, a cover of Reverend Gary Davis's Candy Man, was actually released by the label. The band split up in 1966, with Kincaid going on to release a handful of singles before relocating to Europe in 1969.   

Artist:    Albert King
Title:    As The Years Go Passing By
Source:    LP: Born Under A Bad Sign
Writer(s):    Peppermint Harris
Label:    Stax
Year:    1967
    Although he had been recording professionally since 1953, it wasn't until he signed with the Stax label in 1966 that Albert King received the recognition as one of the greatest bluesmen of all time that he deserved. His first single for Stax was Laundromat Blues, which peaked at #29 on the Billboard R&B chart in June of 1966. More singles followed, including Crosscut Saw and Born Under A Bad Sign, all using Booker T. And The MGs with the Memphis Horns. In August of 1967 King released his first LP for Stax, Born Under A Bad Sign. Although it included five previously released single sides, as well as six new tracks, the album did not make the charts, but has since come to be regarded as one of the greatest blues albums of all time. The bulk of the album was made up of songs originally recorded by other artists, such as As The Years Go Passing By, which was written by Peppermint Harris (although the sleazy record company owner Don Robey took credit for it) for Fenton Robinson, who recorded it for Robey's Duke label in 1959. The vocal style that once earned King the nickname "The Velvet Bulldozer" is on full display on the track, and strongly influenced British bluesman Eric Clapton, who was still known more for his guitar work than his vocals at the time.

Artist:    Castaways
Title:    Liar Liar
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    James Donna
Label:    Eric (original label: Soma)
Year:    1965
     The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for slightly less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves in 1965 with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Circus Freak
Source:    CD: California '66 (originally released on CD: Feedback)
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2006
    James Lowe's lyrics and Mark Tulin's running bass line are the strength of Circus Freak, a track from the 2006 Electric Prunes album Feedback. The album was the last full disc from the band to be released before the death of Tulin in 2011.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Frozen Winter
Source:    CD: WaS
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2014
    By the second decade of the 21st century, the Electric Prunes had proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that as long as you maintain the right attitude you are never too old to rock out. Sadly, 2011 brought the demise on bassist Mark Tulin, who was one-half of the key songwriting team that kept coming up with new psychedelic classics for the group's later albums. In 2014 the remaining members of the band, led by James Lowe, released one final album of tunes from the Lowe/Tulin fountain of creativity. The disc is full of tunes like Frozen Winter, which, as far as I'm concerned, more than holds its own against anything else released that year.
Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    African  Bees
Source:    CD: Feedback
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2006
    The 2006 Electric Prunes album Feedback sounds like a group of talented musicians with nothing to prove having the time of their lives. Which, of course, is exactly what it is. Their always present sense of whimsy is well-represented by African Bees, a tune that somehow manages to make me think of Frank Zappa, Mitch Mitchell and John Belushi all at the same time. Even better, Mark Tulin's bass line on the song is nothing short of phenomenal (he also plays keyboards).

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer:    Joe South
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Shades Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gilliam (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    My Friend
Source:    CD: Sailor
Writer(s):    Davis/Scaggs
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Drummer Tim Davis takes center stage as lead vocalist on My Friend, from the second Steve Miller Band album, Sailor. The tune, co-written by fellow band member Boz Scaggs, was the first writing credit for Davis, who would remain with the band through their first five LPs before moving on to other things.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Watch Yourself
Source:    CD: Volume 3-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer:    Robert Yeazel
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing much of the material on that album.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    The Idiot Bastard Son
Source:    Mono LP: Mothermania (originally released on LP: We're Only In It For The Money)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Verve)
Year:    1968
    The first three Mothers Of Invention albums, Freak Out, Absolutely Free and We're Only In It For The Money, while now considered legendary, were not big money makers when they first came out. In fact, the cost of making the albums exceeded profits generated from them, and Verve was looking for a way to recoup their losses. In 1969 the band's leader, Frank Zappa, created a sort of "best of" album for Verve called Mothermania that was made up of songs from those first three LPs, with some tracks, such as The Idiot Bastard Son (from We're Only In It For The Money), radically remixed by Zappa himself. Although Verve would eventually release several more Mothers compilation albums, Mothermania was the only one personally supervised by Zappa himself.

Artist:    Zombies   
Title:    A Rose For Emily
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Varese Vintage
Year:    1968
    The members of the Zombies began their first sessions for what would be their final album on June 1, 1968. The second song recorded that day was A Rose For Emily, inspired by the William Faulkner story about a girl who dies of loneliness. The song's arrangement is sparse, with piano being the primary instrument and Colin Blunstone's lead vocals being front and center. This single, released in 2017, features cello as well.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Punky's Dilemma
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Originally written specifically for the 1967 soundtrack of the movie The Graduate but rejected by the producers, Punky's Dilemma sat on the shelf until the following year, when it became the only track on side two of Simon And Garfunkel's Bookends LP that had not been previously released. The lyrics are about as psychedelic as Simon And Garfunkel ever got.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Source:    CD: Ummagumma
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmour
Label:    EMI/Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1969
    Pink Floyd's first double LP, Ummagumma, consisted of a live album with four tracks and a studio LP showcasing each individual member of the group. In later years the album would find itself disparaged by band members and critics alike, although one critic did point out that the live version of Careful With That Axe, Eugene, was actually a pretty decent rendition of one the band's most popular early tunes.

Artist:    Mongrels
Title:    Good Good Man
Source:    CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released in Canada as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original Canadian label: Franklin)
Year:    1969
    Not much is known about the Mongrels. Reportedly from Winnipeg, Manitoba, both sides of the band's first three singles were either written or co-written by Randy Bachman, the lead guitarist of the Guess Who. Their first single, Death Of A Salesman, came out on the Franklin label (distributed by London Records of Canada) in 1968. Apparently the record did not go anywhere, as they re-recorded the song in Minneapolis the following year under the title Good Good Man and issued it as the B side of their third single for Franklin, which also came out in the US on the Nico label. Bachman himself produced the Mongrels' fifth and final single for the Canadian division of RCA Victor in 1970.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    John And Julie
Source:    CD: Turtle Soup
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    Repertoire (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1969
    The Turtles were the only truly successful act in the history of White Whale Records. This created a love/hate relationship between the band and its label, with the band always wanting more creative freedom and the label wanting more hit records. This sometimes resulted in great records such as Elenore, but often led to even more problems. Things came to a head after the band's final album, Turtle Soup, produced by the Kinks' Ray Davies, failed to provide any top 40 hits (the highest charting single stalling out at # 51). The album did have some creative high points, however, such as the lavishly produced John And Julie. Nonetheless, rather than record another album for White Whale, the Turtles officially disbanded, with two of the core members, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, hooking up with the Mothers Of Invention, recording the classic Live At The Fillmore East album in 1970.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Call On Me
Source:    Board stereo CD: Live At The Carousel Ballroom-1968
Writer(s):    Sam Andrew
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2012
    In early 1968 a consortium of three local San Francisco bands (Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead) set out to create a venue that would be an alternative to those controlled by professional promoters such as Bill Graham. They rented a disused place called the Carousel Ballroom and set about fixing the place up. The sound system at the Carousel was set up and run by Owsley Stanley, the legendary Grateful Dead sound man also known as Bear. Bear, as a rule, made recordings of every gig he ran sound for, using his own unique two channel system (one channel for the vocals, the other for guitars, bass and keyboards, with the drums being picked up by both sets of microphones). Bear called these recordings "sonic journals", as their primary purpose was similar to that of training films that sports coaches made during games. After a gig Bear and the band members would listen to these tapes and try to figure out what could be done to improve future performances. On March 12, 2012 (the first anniversary of Bear's death in an automobile accident), Columbia/Legacy released Big Brother And The Holding Company Live At The Carousel Ballroom, recorded on Sunday June 23, 1968, just two weeks before the Carousel experiment came to an end. It was the second of two consecutive nights that Big Brother played at the Carousel, their only gigs at the ballroom. In addition to the full set from June 23rd, the disc contains one bonus track from the previous night's performance: an alternate version of Call On Me, a song that first appeared in studio form on the band's 1967 debut LP on Chicago's Mainstream label.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2114 (starts 3/29/21)

    This week we have a scratchy vinyl free-form show. Not that every track is actually on scratchy fact, some of them aren't on vinyl at all. Still, there are quite a few old records in there this time around, starting with a classic from the James Gang.

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Walk Away
Source:     LP: The Best Of The James Gang (originally released on LP: Thirds)
Writer:     Joe Walsh
Label:     ABC
Year:     1971
     The third James Gang album was the last for Joe Walsh, who left the band to pursue a solo career for a few years before hooking up with the Eagles. One of his best known songs, Walk Away, leads off the album. The recording uses multi-tracking extensively toward the end of the song, with multiple guitar parts cascading into what Walsh himself called a "train wreck".

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    New Dope In Town
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Clear)
Writer(s):    Andes/California/Cassidy/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
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:    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title:    Still...You Turn Me On
Source:    CD: Brain Salad Surgery
Writer(s):    Greg Lake
Label:    Rhino (original label: Manticore)
Year:    1973
    By 1973, Emerson, Lake & Palmer had established somewhat of a pattern with the albums. Most of each LP was dominated by the bombastic stylings of Keith Emerson's keyboards, supplemented by Greg Lake's bass and vocals (and occasional guitar) and Carl Palmer's percussion work. There was almost always one ballad on the LP, however, that was penned by Lake, and often became the only single released from the album. On the album Brain Salad Surgery that ballad was Still...You Turn Me On. By this time, however, ELP was not even bothering to release singles from their albums, although Still...You Turn Me On did show up as a promo B side in 1974 that was never released commercially.

Artist:    Pearls Before Swine
Title:    Wedding
Source:    CD: Constructive Melancholy-30 Years Of Pearls Before Swine (originally released on LP: City Of Gold)
Writer(s):    Tom Rapp
Label:    Birdland (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1971
    For much of their existence, Pearls Before Swine was not an actual band. Rather, it was singer/songwriter Tom Rapp and his wife Elisabeth working with various studio musicians, particularly during their stint with Reprise Records in the early 1970s. An example of this was the fifth Pearls album, City Of Gold. Released in 1971, about half of the album had been recorded in Nashville during sessions for the 1970 LP The Use Of Ashes, while the rest was recorded in New York, using and entirely different group of session musicians. One of the more unusual tracks on City Of Gold is Wedding, a disturbing tune that describes a back-alley rape as if it were a wedding ceremony.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    That's The Way
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    I read somewhere that Jimmy Page came up with The Rain Song (from the album Houses Of The Holy) in response to someone asking him why Led Zeppelin hadn't recorded any ballads. Apparently that person had never heard That's The Way, from the album Led Zeppelin III. If that ain't a ballad, I don't know what is.

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    For The Last Time
Source:    LP: Rory Gallagher (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Atco
Year:    1971
    Rory Gallagher rose to fame as lead guitarist/vocalist and songwriter for the Irish band Taste, which he left after the band's fist two LPs. All of those talents are fully on display on For The Last Time, a tune from his first solo LP, released in 1971. The slow, moody, piece starts off quietly, with just Gallagher on guitar and vocals, but eventually builds up to a climax featuring a long, but never boring, guitar solo. Joining Gallagher on the piece are Richard "Charlie" McCracken on bass guitar and John Wilson on drums.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Outlaw Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    David Blue
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1973
    Although all the members of the Eagles are known for the songwriting abilities, some of the earliest singles were actually cover songs, including Peaceful Easy Feeling (by Jack Tempchin) and Outlaw Man (by David Blue). Blue was a recent addition to the Asylum roster, making him labelmates with the Eagles, and Outlaw Man was an obvious choice for inclusion on an album meant to have a modernized wild west theme. The song itself is a first person account of the life of an outlaw, with ambiguous enough lyrics to make it applicable to current times as well as the obvious 19th century.

Artist:    Seals And Crofts
Title:    It's Gonna Come Down On You
Source:    LP: Diamond Girl
Writer(s):    Seals/Crofts
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    It seems inevitable that an album from a duo known for their strong spiritual beliefs would include a song about Karma, and It's Gonna Come Down On You, from the Seals And Crofts LP Diamond Girl, does not disappoint. The track features some nice electric guitar work from producer Louie Shelton as well as strong vocals from Jim Seals and Dash Crofts (who also plays mandolin on the tune).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    You Can't Always Get What You Want
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    When the Rolling Stones called for singers to back them up on their recording of You Can't Always Get What You Want, they expected maybe 30 to show up. Instead they got twice that many, and ended up using them all on the recording, which closes out the Let It Bleed album. An edited version of the song, which also features Al Kooper on organ, was orginally released as the B side of Honky Tonk Women in 1969. In the mid-1970s, after the Stones had established their own record label, Allen Klein, who had bought the rights to the band's pre-1970 recordings, reissued the single, this time promoting You Can't Always Get What You Want as the A side. Klein's strategy worked and the song ended up making the top 40.

Artist:    National Lampoon
Title:    Mr. Roberts
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits Of The National Lampoon (originally released on LP: That's Not Funny, That's Sick)
Writer(s):    Murray/Guest
Label:    Uproar (original label: Label 21)
Year:    1977
    There are actually two Mr. Roberts tracks on the 1977 National Lampoon LP That's Not Funny, That's Sick. The more famous one depicts the children's show host (a parody of Mister Rogers) being accosted by the father of one of the neighborhood kids for spending too much time alone with his son. For my money, though, the far funnier one involves Mr. Roberts (voiced by Christopher Guest) interviewing a jazz bassist (voiced by Billy Murray), culminating in a trip to the "magic kingdom". Murray and Guest wrote the piece, which is included on the Greatest Hits Of The National Lampoon CD.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    I Want To Take You Higher
Source:    European import CD: Pure... Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Stand and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sly Stone
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Year:    1969
    Sylvester Stewart was a major presence on the San Francisco music scene for several years, both as a producer for Autumn Records and as a popular local disc jockey. In 1967 he decided to take it to the next level, using his studio connections to put together Sly And The Family Stone. The band featured a solid lineup of musicians, including Larry Graham, whose growling bass line figures prominently in their 1969 recording of I Want To Take You Higher. The song was originally released as a B side, but after the group blew away the crowd at Woodstock the recording was re-released as a single the following year.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    I'll Keep On Trying
Source:    LP:Uriah Heep
Writer(s):    Box/Byron
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1970
    The term "heavy metal" had not come into common usage in 1970. If it had, Uriah Heep's debut LP would have been hailed as an early example. Although their later albums, particularly Demons And Wizards and the Magician's Birthday, would take a more progressive turn and deal with fantasy themes, Uriah Heep's first LP was much more straight ahead hard rock. The album was originally released in the UK with the title Very 'eavy...Very 'umble and featured a picture of lead vocalist David Byron partially obscured by cobwebs. The US release of the LP was entitled simply Uriah Heep and had a wraparound cover featuring a silver dragon on a black background. With one exception the song lineup was the same for both albums. I'll Keep On Trying, a song written by Byron and guitarist Mick Box, was included on both versions. You can check out both album covers at the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2113 (starts 3/22/21)

    This week's first hour features sets from 1965, '66, and '67, alternating with artists' sets from the Doors and Country Joe And The Fish. For the second hour we have, in its entirety, the first side of the 1971 Moody Blues LP Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, followed by more songs from 1966 and a few album tracks to finish things out.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    A Well Respected Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Released 1965, charted 1966
    The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man (actually released in late 1965) amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums until 1970, when the song Lola became a huge international hit, reviving the band's fortunes.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Bringing It All Back Home)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:     Astronauts
Title:     Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Boyce/Venet
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1965
     The Astronauts were formed in the early 60s in Boulder, Colorado, and were one of the few surf bands to come from a landrocked state. They had a minor hit with an instrumental called Baja during the height of surf's popularity, but were never able to duplicate that success in the US, although they did have considerable success in Japan, even outselling the Beach Boys there. By 1965 they had started to move away from surf music, adding vocals and taking on more of a garage-punk sound. What caught my attention when I first ran across this promo single in a commercial radio station throwaway pile was the song's title. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, written by Tommy Boyce and producer Steve Venet, was featured on the Monkees TV show and was included on their 1966 debut album. This 1965 Astronauts version of the tune has a lot more attitude than the Monkees version. Surprisingly the song didn't hit the US charts, despite being released on the biggest record label in the world (at that time), RCA Victor.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Riders On The Storm
Source:    European import CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    The last major hit single for the Doors was also one of their best: Riders On The Storm. In fact, it still holds up as one of the finest singles ever released. By anyone.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive
Source:    European import CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Running Blue
Source:    European Import CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: The Soft Parade)
Writer(s):    Robby Krieger
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1969
    On the recommendation of producer Paul Rothchild, the Doors made a complete departure from the sound that had won them critical and commercial success on their first three albums with the release of The Soft Parade in 1969. The band was supplemented by strings and horns on most of the album. At the same time Jim Morrison, battling personal and legal issues, was less involved with the songwriting on The Soft Parade, with the slack being taken up primarily by guitarist Robby Krieger. In fact, Krieger wrote all four singles released from the album, including Running Blue, which only made it to the #64 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. The song itself was meant to be a tribute to Otis Redding, with lyrics based on an old Leadbelly song, but the country-style vocals provided by Krieger on the song's "back eight" (supplemented by bluegrass-style mandolin played by Jesse McReynolds) undermine his intentions.

Artist:    Syndicate Of Sound
Title:    Little Girl
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands, Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Baskin/Gonzalez
Label:    Era (original labels: Hush & Bell)
Year:    1966
    San Jose California, despite being a relatively small city in the pre-silicon valley days,  was home to a thriving music scene in the mid 60s that produced more than its share of hit records from 1966-68. One of the earliest and biggest of these hits was the Syndicate Of Sound's Little Girl, which has come to be recognized as one of the top garage-rock songs of all time. Little Girl was originally released regionally in mid 1966 on the Hush label, and reissued nationally by Bell Records a couple months later.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Whiskey Man
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    John Entwhistle
Label:    Decca
Year:    1966
    Although the Who had previously issued a pair of singles in the US, the first one to make any kind of waves was Happy Jack, released in late 1966 and hitting its peak the following year. The B side of that record was the song Whiskey Man. Like all the Who songs penned by bassist John Entwhistle, this one has an unusual subject: in this case, psychotic alcohol-induced hallucinations.

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

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Flying High
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Any guesses to what a song called Flying High from an album called Electric Music For The Mind And Body by Country Joe And The Fish released in 1967 might be about? I thought not.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Super Bird
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rhino (original label: Vanguard)
Year:    1967
    Country Joe and the Fish, from Berkeley, California, were one of the first rock bands to incorporate political satire into their music. Their I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag is one of the most famous protest songs ever written. Super Bird is even heavier on the satire than the Rag. The song, from the band's debut LP, puts president Lyndon Johnson, whose wife and daughter were known as "Lady-bird" and "Linda-bird", in the role of a comic book superhero.

Artist:    Country Joe and the Fish
Title:    Section 43
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer:    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    In 1966 Country Joe and the Fish released their original mono version of an instrumental called Section 43. The song was included on a 7" EP inserted in Joe McDonald's underground arts newspaper called Rag Baby. In 1967 the group recorded an expanded stereo version of Section 43 and included it on their debut LP for Vanguard Records, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. It was this arrangement of the piece (and quite possibly this recording) that was used in D. A. Pennebacker's film chronicle of the Monterey International Pop Festival that June.  

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
Source:    LP: Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival
Writer(s):    Redding/Butler
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    Although his name had appeared on the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts since 1962, it wasn't until the release of I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) in 1965 that Redding began to get noticed by the public at large. The song, co-written by Jerry Butler, hit # 2 on the R&B chart and just barely missed making the top 20 on the mainstream chart. Two years later Redding performed the song as part of his set at the Monterey International Pop Festival, backed by Booker T and the MGs, along with the Bar-Kays horn section. Less than a year later a plane crash would claim the lives of Redding and the Bar-Kays, just as the singer was achieving his greatest success.

Artist:    Mouse And The Traps
Title:    Ya-Ya
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Fraternity Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Robinson/Dorsey/Lewis
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Fraternity)
Year:    1967
    Mouse And The Traps had a well-deserved reputation for being able to play in any style they wanted to. An example of this is their cover of Lee Dorsey's hit Ya-Ya, which Mouse released as a B side in 1967. Unfortunately, that same versatility kept them from establishing a musical identity of their own, and, although they had regional success all across Texas, the Ohio valley and the southern US, they were never able to score a major hit on the national charts.

Artist:     Leaves
Song:     To Try For the Sun
Source:     British import CD: All the Good That's Happening
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:     Grapefruit (original label: Capitol)    
Year:     1967
     After their success with the fast version of Hey Joe in 1966 the Leaves signed with Capitol Records and recorded their second LP, All the Good That's Happening. Unfortunately, the band was already in the process of disintegrating by then and no more hits were forthcoming. One song that shows their interest in folk music was their cover of Donovan's To Try For the Sun. It was the only purely acoustic song the band ever recorded.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    We're Going Wrong
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Writer:    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Ginger Baker put away his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.

Artist:    Peter, Paul And Mary
Title:    Blowin' In The Wind
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1963
    Just as knowing the chords for Van Morrison's Gloria was pretty much a prerequisite for being in a garage band, being able to play Bob Dylan's Blowing In The Wind was a must for anyone attempting to play folk music at a party in the mid-1960s. If there was more than one of you singing, you most likely used the Peter, Paul and Mary arrangement of the tune, with its three-part harmony. Their version was by far the most popular recording of the song, going all the way to the # 2 spot on the top 40 charts in the summer of '63.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    Every Good Boy Deserves Favor-side one
Source:    LP: Every Good Boy Deserves Favor
Writer(s):    Lodge/Thomas/Hayward/Pinder/Edge
Label:    Threshold
Year:    1971
    The Moody Blues are probably the first rock band to become known for doing nothing but concept albums, starting with the 1967 LP Days Of Future Past. Their 1971 album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, is no exception, as each song on the LP leads directly into the next track. The album's first side starts off with the only Moody Blues track written by all five band members. Procession is meant to describe the history of music from the beginning of time up until 1971, when the album was recorded. The only vocals on Procession are the spoken words "desolation," "creation," and "communication". This leads into the album's hit single, Justin Hayward's The Story In Your Eyes, which had been released a couple months ahead of the LP itself. From there, the song sequence continues with Ray Thomas's Our Guessing Game and John Lodge's Emily's Song, concluding with Graeme Edge's After You Came. Ironically, Edge is the only member of the band that does not sing on After You Came.  

Artist:    Tom Dae Turned On
Title:    I Shall Walk
Source:    CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tom Dae
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Hitt)
Year:    1970
    Rockville, Connecticut was home to Tom Dae, one of the more prolific, yet obscure, artists of the 1960s and 70s. His first single, Janie, was released on the New York based Goldisc label in 1963, with most of his subsequent records appearing on Hitt Records out of Hartford, Connecticut. Dae's recordings appeared under several variations, including Tommy Dae's Tensionettes, Tommy Dae's High Tensions, and in 1970, Tom Dae Turned On. I Shall Walk is, by far, the most psychedelic recording Dae ever released.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    Mono 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:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Barking Pumpkin (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Taxman
Source:    Mono CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney.
Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sunny South Kensington
Source:    Mono LP: Mellow Yellow (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1966
    Donovan followed up his 1966 hit single Sunshine Superman with an album of the same name. He then repeated himself with the song and album Mellow Yellow. The B side of the Mellow Yellow single was Sunny South Kensington, a tune done in much the same style as Superman. The song was also included on the Mellow Yellow album.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single. Stereo version released on LP: Da Capo)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1967
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic quasi-surf instrumental that fades out after just a few seconds.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Adventures Of A Young Organ
Source:    European import CD: Ten Years After
Writer(s):    Churchill/Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    Perpetually overshadowed by his bandmate Alvin Lee, organist Chick Churchill first joined Ten Years After as their road manager in 1966, when they were still working with singer Ivan Jay as the Jaybirds, but soon became the band's keyboardist. In November of 1966, the group, minus Jay, signed Chris Wright as their manager and changed their name, first to Blues Trip, then Blues Yard, then finally Ten Years After. Churchill's style was heavily influenced by American jazz and blues organist Jimmy Smith, as can be heard on tracks like Adventures Of A Young Organ from the fist Ten Years After LP, released in 1967.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Remember A Day
Source:    CD: A Saucerful Of Secrets
Writer(s):    Rick Wright
Label:    EMI (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Trivia question: Which Pink Floyd album never made the US album charts? The answer:  A Saucerful Of Secrets, the band's second LP. Like the band's debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, A Saucerful Of Secrets was released on Capitol's tax-writeoff Tower subsidiary and received virtually no promotion from the label. By 1968 it was becoming increasingly clear that Syd Barrett was going off the deep end due to ongoing mental health issues exacerbated by heavy use of hallucinogenics and it's reasonable to assume the label expected to band to soon dissolve. After one performance where Barrett did nothing but stand and strum a single chord for the entire set the rest of the band made a decision to bring in Barrett's childhood friend David Gilmour as their new guitarist. In all likelihood this decision saved the band itself, as A Saucerful Of Secrets ended up being the only Pink Floyd album to include both Barrett and Gilmour. Meanwhile, other band members were stepping up their own contributions, Rick Wright's Remember A Day being a prime example.

Artist:     It's A Beautiful Day
Title:     Hot Summer Day
Source:     CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer:     David and Linda LaFlamme
Label:     San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1969
     Next to White Bird, the two most recognizable It's A Beautiful Day songs are Bombay Calling and Hot Summer Day. All three songs are on the band's debut album. David and Linda LaFlamme split up after that album was released, and stopped writing songs together. There was an overall drop in the quality of the band's recordings as well. Coincidence? I think not.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2113 (starts 3/22/21) 

    This time around we start with an obscure B side from Lighthouse, and then take a musical journey backwards from Joni Mitchell's 1974 live album Miles Of Aisles to the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Axis: Bold As Love. As a bonus we have tracks from Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa to finish the hour.

    Artist:     Lighthouse
Title:     Lonely Places
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     P. Hoffert/B. Hoffert
Label:     Evolution (original label: GRT)
Year:     1972
     The Canadian band Lighthouse was an attempt by drummer Skip Prokop (formerly of The Paupers) and others to incorporate both horns and strings into a rock band. Lonely Places, which was released as the B side of the band's 1972 single, Sunny Days,  shows that the idea had potential but never really got off the ground.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Big Yellow Taxi (live version)
Source:    LP: Miles Of Aisles
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    One of Joni Mitchell's best-known tunes, Big Yellow Taxi was originally released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. The original studio version of the song hit the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the UK and Mitchell's native Canada, but only reached the #67 spot in the US. Four years later Mitchell, backed up by Tom Scott and the L.A. Express, released a live version of the song on an album called Miles Of Aisles. This version easily cracked the top 40 in the US in 1974, peaking at #24. Mitchell says she was inspired to write the song on a visit to Hawaii, where she looked out her hotel window to view a mountain vista in the distance, only to be shocked back to reality when she looked down to see a parking lot "as far as the eye could see".
Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Dark Eyed Cajun Woman
Source:    CD: The Captain And Me
Writer(s):    Tom Johnston
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Dark Eyed Cajun Woman is a Tom Johnston penned tribute to the blues, and to B.B. King in particular. It appears on the third Doobie Brothers album, The Captain And Me, and is often overlooked due to its placement immediately following two of the band's biggest hits, Long Train Runnin' and China Grove. Released in March of 1973, The Captain And Me spent over a year on the US Pop albums chart, peaking at #7.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Blowin' Free
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Upton/Turner/Turner/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    Known to the band's fans as the "Ash Anthem", Blowin' Free is probably the single most popular song Wishbone Ash ever recorded. The song, with lyrics written by bassist Martin Turner before Wishbone Ash even formed, is about Turner's Swedish ex-girlfriend.

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Can't Believe It's True
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Rory Gallagher)
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    In addition to his obvious prowess on guitar, Rory Gallagher was an accomplished saxophonist (although he largely abandoned the instrument in the mid-1970s). Excellent examples of both his guitar and saxophone work can be found on Can't Believe It's True, the final and longest track on Gallagher's first solo album, recorded in 1971. Accompanying Gallagher on the album were drummer Wilgar Campbell and bass guitarist Gerry McAvoy. Gallagher had set up practice sessions with Campbell and McAvoy, as well as former Jimi Hendrix Experience members Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding following the breakup of his original band, Taste, but ultimately decided to form a power trio with the two Belfast natives for his solo debut.
Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    My Baby Left Me
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original US label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    Although panned by the rock press, Ten Years After's sixth LP, Watt is, for my money, the last of their truly great albums, containing many tasty tunes, such as My Baby Left Me. Following the release of Watt on the Deram label, Ten Years After would switch to Columbia Records and enjoy greater commercial success. Personally, with the exception of a couple of songs, I find their Columbia material uninspired.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Why Didn't Rosemary
Source:    LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Lord/Blackmore/Evans/Paice/Simper
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1969
    Deep Purple's self-titled third LP was plagued with problems not of the band's own making. Most of these can be traced to the fact that their American label, Tetragrammaton, was in deep (no pun intended) financial trouble. This meant virtually no promotion budget for the album, and problems with distribution as well. Actually, the company went bankrupt not long after the album was released, making Deep Purple (the album) almost impossible to find on the record racks. There were internal problems brewing as well; this would be the last Deep Purple album to feature original lead vocalist Rod Evans and bassist Nicky Simper, who were dismissed to make room for Ian Gillan and and Roger Glover. The shame of it all is that Deep Purple was actually a pretty good album, covering a lot of musical ground. One of the tracks, Why Didn't Rosemary, is about as good as British blues-rock gets. Apparently the band's new label thought so as well, as Why Didn't Rosemary, as well as most of the rest of the tracks from Deep Purple, was included on a double-LP anthology album called Purple Passages that collected the best of the band's Tetragrammaton material.

Artist:     Steppenwolf
Title:     Don't Step On The Grass, Sam
Source:     CD: Steppenwolf the Second
Writer:     John Kay
Label:     MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:     1968
     Never afraid to make his social and political views known, Steppenwolf's John Kay wrote Don't Step On The Grass, Sam for the band's second LP, released in 1968. It's taken over 50 years, but it looks like Kay's finally starting to get his wish.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    If 6 Was 9
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse for the record companies to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on. Especially the spoken part in the middle, when Jimi says the words "I'm the one who's got to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life the way I want." It sounds like he's inside your head with you.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    When The Levee Breaks
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin IV
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones/Douglas
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although it sounds like it could have been written about Hurricane Katrina, When The Levee Breaks, the last song on the fourth Led Zeppelin LP, was actually inspired by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, that saw levees along the river break in over 145 places, leaving over 700,000 people homeless. 29-year-old Lizzie Douglas, was living with her family near Walls, Mississippi, when the levee there broke, and two years later, using her stage name of Memphis Minnie recorded the original version of When The Levee Breaks with her then-partner Kansas Joe McCoy. In 1971 Led Zeppelin used Douglas's lyrics as the basis for their own, musically different version of When The Levee Breaks. The track is instantly identifiable by John Bonham's distinctive opening drum beat, which has been heavily sampled by various hip-hop artists over the years.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    I'm The Slime
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1973
    In 1973, Frank Zappa, along with an array of talented musicians, recorded two albums' worth of material. The first, released as a Mothers album, was Over-Nite Sensation. Strangely enough, a single was released from the album, although it really didn't make much of a dent in the top 40 charts. That single was I'm The Slime, a song that only gets more relevant as time goes on. The song is basically a description of America's top drug of choice, as the opening lyrics make clear: "I am gross and perverted. I'm obsessed 'n deranged. I have existed for years, but very little has changed. I'm the tool of the government and industry too, for I am destined to rule and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, but you can't look away. I make you think I'm delicious, with the stuff that I say. I'm the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet? I'm the slime ooozing out of your TV set." Ironically, Zappa and his band performed the song on his first appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2112 (starts 3/15/21) 

    Last week's show was a bit heavy on the long album tracks, so to balance things out we have quite a few shorter tunes, starting with an early Rolling Stones single that only runs a minute and 43 seconds. There are still a couple of longer tracks, though, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience's cover of the classic Catfish Blues, recorded live in a Dutch TV studio. We also have an Advanced Psych segment this time around and an artists' set from Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Wanna Be Your Man
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    London
Year:    1964
    Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have written so many classic songs together that it's hard to imagine a time when they had yet to pen their first hit. That was precisely the case, however, in the early days of the Rolling Stones, when they were barely scratching the bottom of the British charts with covers of blues songs from the 1950s. A chance meeting with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, however, resulted in the Stones being given a song called I Wanna Be Your Man which became the band's first top 20 hit in the UK. The song was later released as the B side to the Stones' first US charted single, Not Fade Away.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Such A Shame
Source:    Mono LP: Kinkdom (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record, thus giving them a share of the songwriting royalties. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the flip of A Well Respected Man in 1966. It doesn't get much better than this.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Why Pick On Me
Source:     CD: The Best of the Standells (originally released on LP: Why Pick on Me — Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White)
Writer:     Ed Cobb
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1966
     Ed Cobb, who produced both the Standells and their Tower labelmates the Chocolate Watchband, was also a prolific songwriter who penned three charting singles for the former band in 1966. Why Pick On Me, while the least successful of the three, still manages to capture the zeitgeist of late 60s youth alienation.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Crystal Ship
Source:    45 RPM single B side (European reissue of Japanese single)
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular B sides ever released, The Crystal Ship is a slow moody piece with vivid lyrical images. The mono mix of the song sounds a bit different from the more commonly-heard stereo version. Not only is the mix itself a bit hotter, it is also a touch faster. This is due to an error in the mastering of the stereo version of the first Doors LP that resulted in the entire album running at a 3.5% slower speed than it was originally recorded. This discrepancy went unnoticed for over 40 years, until a college professor pointed out that every recorded live performance of Light My Fire was in a key that was about half a step higher than the stereo studio version.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    One Sure Thing
Source:    British import CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Brooks/Glover
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    The original Fairport Convention in many ways resembles the early Jefferson Airplane; the group, which featured Judy Dyble and Ian MacDonald (later known as Ian Matthews) on vocals, Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol  on guitars, Ashley “Tyger” Hutchings on bass and Martin Lamble on drums, blended folk music with rock elements and included several songs in their repertoire that had originally been performed by other artists. One of these cover songs featuring Dyble on vocals is One Sure Thing, which was written by Jim Glover and Harvey Brooks and made famous by the folk duo Jim And Jean in the early 1960s. The Fairport version of One Sure Thing, like most of the band's early material, is far more psychedelic than the Jim And Jean rendition of the song.

Artist:    Idle Race
Title:    Days Of The Broken Arrows
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1969
    The Idle Race had already released one LP and four singles when they came out with Days Of The Broken Arrows in early 1969. Lead vocalist Jeff Lynne, who wrote and produced the song, was disappointed with the single's performance, and after releasing a second album late in the year he announced that he was leaving the Idle Race to join his friend Roy Wood's band, the Move. Eventually Lynne came to dominate the Move and saw that band evolve into the Electric Light Orchestra. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Idle Race stayed together, finally becoming the Steve Gibbons Band in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    No Sugar Tonight
Source:    LP: Harmony (originally released on LP: American Woman and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Randy Bachman
Label:    RCA Special Products (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    Randy Bachman's No Sugar Tonight was not intended to be a hit single. In fact, when he first unveiled the song he was told by his bandmates that it was too short. So, to flesh it out he and Burton Cummings combined No Sugar Tonight with a Cummings tune, New Mother Nature, that was still a work in progress. The resulting medley was included on the 1970 LP American Woman. Additionally, No Sugar Tonight itself, in its short form, was also released as the B side of the American Woman single. It proved so popular that it made the top 40 in its own right. Meanwhile, FM rock stations began playing the full medley, and the shorter single version was soon abandoned by top 40 stations as well. Bachman says the song itself was inspired by an incident that transpired on a California street in which a "tough looking biker" type got publicly dressed down by a five foot tall woman for neglecting his household chores to hang out with his friends. The last words heard before they drove off in her car were "and one more thing, you ain't getting no sugar tonight".

Artist:    Nilsson
Title:    Driving Along
Source:    LP: Nilsson Schmilsson
Writer(s):    Harry Nilsson
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1971
    Referred to by one critic as a "snapshot of urban disconnectedness", Driving Along is the second track on Harry Nilsson's most successful LP, Nilsson Schmilsson. Made two years before he began hanging out with John Lennon, the tune has been compared to the later work of Lennon's former bandmate, Paul McCartney. The lead guitar on the song was provided by John Uribe, whose electric guitar work also appears on another Nilsson Schmilsson track, Jump Into The Fire.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Catfish Blues
Source:     CD: Blues
Writer:     Robert Petway
Label:     MCA/Experience Hendrix
Year:     1967
     Blues artists have long been known for "borrowing" each other's work, rearranging it to suit their own style and then publishing it under their own name. Such is the case with Catfish Blues. The earliest known recordings of the song are from 1941 by Robert Petway, a Missippippi-born singer/guitarist who, according to Dave "Honeyboy" Edwards "just made that song up and used to play it at them old country dances. He just made it up and kept it in his head." Muddy Waters slowed the song down and recorded it in 1950 as Rolling Stone, one of his most famous pieces. Jimi Hendrix, appearing on the Dutch TV show Hoepla with his band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, performed his own version of the tune in November of 1967.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush
Source:    Mono CD: Smiling Phases (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood/Mason
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    For many years I was completely oblivious to the existence of a movie called Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush. The Traffic song of the same name, however, has been a favorite of mine for quite some time (I have black and white video footage of the band performing the song on some old British TV show). The song was released as a single in 1967 and was not included on either the US or UK version of the Mr. Fantasy album (originally known in the US as Heaven Is In Your Mind). It is now available, however, as a bonus track on both the mono (Mr. Fantasy) and stereo (Heaven Is In Your Mind) versions of the CD.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Chapter 24
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    One of the first tracks recorded for the debut Pink Floyd album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Chapter 24 is a Syd Barrett composition based on chapter 24 of the I Ching (the ancient Chinese Book of Changes). The tune itself is somewhat of a drone, and was considered for the band's greatest hits package Echoes: The Best Of Pink Floyd, despite never being released as a single.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    Simulated stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as being the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. Fisher initially did not get writing credit for his contributions to the song, but finally, after several lawsuits, began collecting royalties for the song in 2009. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves over the past 70+ years.

Artist:     Who
Title:     I Can See For Miles
Source:     LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     Decca
Year:     1967
     I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was the Who's biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. I Can See For Miles was also used as the closing track of side one of The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. Some of the commercials and jingles heard at the beginning of the track were recorded by the band itself. Others were lifted (without permission) from Radio London, a pirate radio station operating off the English coast.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love You To
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Following the release of Rubber Soul in December of 1965, the Beatles' George Harrison began to make a serious effort to learn to play the Sitar, studying under the master, Ravi Shankar. Along with the instrument itself, Harrison studied Eastern forms of music. His first song written in the modal form favored by Indian composers was Love You To, from the Revolver album. The recording also features Indian percussion instruments and suitably spiritual lyrics.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Mushroom Clouds
Source:    Mono LP: Love
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols/Forssi/MacLean
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Mushroom Clouds is a bit of an anomaly. For one thing, writing credit on the tune, from Love's first LP, is shared by Arthur Lee, guitarist Johnny Echols, bassist Ken Forssi and guitarist Bryan MacLean, despite being a purely acoustical piece. In fact, it is probably the closest thing to a pure folk song the band ever recorded, complete with obligatory 60s antiwar sentiment. Personally, I like the piece, despite the fact that it seems to have been left off every Love retrospective I have ever seen or heard.
Artist:    Motorcycle Abileen
Title:    (You Used To) Ride So High
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Warren Zevon: The First Sessions)
Writer(s):    Warren Zevon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Varese Sarabande)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2003
    One of the ripple effects of the British Invasion was the near-disappearance of the solo artist from the top 40 charts for several years. There were exceptions, of course. Folk singers such as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, pop singers such as Jackie DeShannon and Dionne Warwick and more adult-oriented vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin all did reasonably well, but if you wanted to be a rock and roll star you pretty much had to have a band. Producers took to creating band names for pieces that were in fact entirely performed by studio musicians, and in a few cases a solo artist would use a band name for his own recordings. One such case is the Motorcycle Abilene, which was in reality producer Bones Howe on various percussion devices working with singer/songwriter Warren Zevon, who sings and plays all non-percussion instruments on (You Used To) Ride So High, a song he wrote shortly after disbanding the duo Lyme And Cybelle (he was Lyme, presumably).

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

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    The Nazz Are Blue
Source:    Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released in UK on LP: Yardbirds, aka Roger The Engineer and in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Dreja/McCarty/Beck/Relf/Samwell-Smith
Label:    Raven (original UK label: Columbia; US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Unlike most of their fellow British Invasion bands, the Yardbirds did not release many albums, choosing to concentrate on single releases. In fact, over a period of five years the band only released one full studio LP in their native UK. Although the official name of that album was Yardbirds, it has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer, due to the distinctive cover drawing of the record's audio engineer, Roger Cameron, by band member Chris Dreja. The US version of the album had a different cover and a different name, Over Under Sideways Down. As was common in 1966, the UK version of the album had two more songs than its US counterpart. One of the two songs left off the US version was The Nazz Are Blue, a song written by the entire band and sung by guitarist Jeff Beck. The song was released in the US later the same year as the B side to Happenings Ten Years Time Ago, the last Yardbirds single to include Beck as a band member.

Artist:    Flick
Title:    The End
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Oran & Trevor Thornton
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1998
    Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, a relatively unusual occurence in the late 1990s.

Artist:    Romeo Void
Title:    I Mean It
Source:    LP: itsacondition
Writer(s):    Iyall/Zincavage/Woods/Bossi
Label:    415
Year:    1981
    Formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Deborah Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage, Romeo Void also included saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, guitarist Peter Woods, and a (shades of Spinal Tap!) succession of drummers. Their first LP, Itsacondition (sometimes referred to as It's A Condition) was released in 1981. I first ran across this album while doing a contemporary alternative rock show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque in the early 1980s. Although most of the album was fast-paced and punkish in nature, it was I Mean It, the haunting closing track from side one, that stood out from just about everything else that was happening musically at the time.

Artist:    Splinter Fish
Title:    Mars
Source:    LP: Splinter Fish
Writer(s):    Chuck Hawley
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    One of my favorite bands on the late 80s Albuquerque music scene was Splinter Fish, a group that didn't quite fall naturally into any specific musical genre. They certainly had things in common with many new wave bands, but also touched on world music and even hard rock. One of their most popular tracks was Mars, which itself is hard to define, thanks to many sudden tempo and even stylistic changes, even though the entire track runs less than three minutes in length. Guitarist/vocalist Chuck Hawley now leads his own band, while fem vocalist Deb-O performs with a variety of Albuquerque musicians in several different combos.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the Byrds turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics adapted from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Words
Source:    CD: Hey Joe
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    One Way (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    In 1965 the songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart recorded a demo of their song Words, in the hopes of either finding a band to record the tune or a getting a record contract for themselves. The following year a local Los Angeles band, the Leaves, included the song on their debut LP for the Mira label. For about a year the Leaves' recording was considered the definitive version of Words until the Monkees took the song into the top 40 as the B side of Pleasant Valley Sunday in the summer of '67.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Wake Up Wake Up
Source:    LP: Golden Grass (originally released on LP: Let's Live For Today and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sloan/Barri
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1967
    At at time when more and more record buyers were becoming interested in LPs, the Grass Roots were primarily a singles band. This probably explains why their highest charting album, Golden Grass, was a greatest hits compilation. Ironically, only a handful of the album's eleven songs were actually hits. Others, such as Wake Up Wake Up, can be described as "obscure" at best. Wake Up Wake Up, the fourth single released from the LP Let's Live For Today, is a pleasant enough song, but it is lacking the all-important hook needed to make it a hit.

Artist:    Lollipop Shoppe (actual name: The Weeds)
Title:    You Must Be A Witch
Source:    German import CD: The Weeds aka The Lollipop Shoppe (originally released in US as 45 RPM single and on LP: Just Colour)
Writer(s):    Fred Cole
Label:    Way Back (original US label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    The Weeds were formed in Las Vegas in 1965 by vocalist Fred Cole, who at age 16 was already a recording studio veteran. They showed up at the Fillmore to open for the Yardbirds in 1966 only to find out that their manager had lied to them about being on the playbill (in fact Bill Graham had never even heard of them). Disenchanted with their management and fearing the Draft, the entire band decided to head for Canada, but ran out of gas in Portland, Oregon. They soon landed a regular gig at a club called the Folk Singer (where Cole met his future wife Toody) and after relocating to Southern California in 1968 attracted the attention of Seeds' manager Lord Tim, who got them a contract with MCA Records (now Universal). They recorded one album for MCA's Uni label, (discovering after the fact that Lord Tim had changed their name to the Lollipop Shoppe), which included the single You Must Be A Witch. Fred Cole eventually become an icon of indy rock, returning to Portland to co-lead the band Dead Moon with his wife Toody from 1987-2006. Cole passed away from liver disease in 2017 at the age of 69.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    The Eagle Never Hunts The Fly
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
     The Music Machine was by far the most advanced of all the bands playing on Sunset Strip in 1966-67. Not only did they feature tight sets (so that audience members wouldn't get the chance to call out requests between songs), they also had their own visual look that set them apart from other bands. With all the band members dressed entirely in black (including dyed hair) and wearing one black glove, the Machine projected an image that would influence such diverse artists as the Ramones and Michael Jackson in later years. Musically, Bonniwell's songwriting showed a sophistication that was on a par with the best L.A. had to offer, demonstrated by a series of fine singles such as The Eagle Never Hunts the Fly. Unfortunately, problems on the business end prevented the Music Machine from achieving the success it deserved and Bonniwell, disheartened, dissillusioned and/or disgusted, eventually quit the music business altogether.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Trouble
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material, with the exception of a slow version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on (and before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved. To hear Turn On The Music Machine the way Bonniwell intended it to be heard program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, Trouble is restored to its rightful place as the second song on the disc (following Talk Talk) and a fairly decent album is transformed into a work that is equal to the best albums of 1966.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Double Yellow Line
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bonniwell Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound, stereo LP version released on Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    One of the Original Sound singles that also appeared on the Warner Brothers LP Bonniwell Music Machine, Double Yellow Line features lyrics that were literally written by Bonniwell on the way to the recording studio. In fact, his inability to stay in his lane while driving with one hand and writing with the other resulted in a traffic ticket. The ever resourceful Bonniwell wrote the rest of the lyrics on the back of the ticket and even invited the officer in to watch the recording session. He declined.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Daddy You Been On My Mind
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1965
    Although I had heard songs like Where Have All The Flowers Gone and Blowin' In The Wind on the radio and around campfires, I did not actually own a folk record until early 1966, when I picked up a brown paper "grab bag" of four singles at a discount price at the Post Exchange at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. Among the records in the bag was a single by Joan Baez that featured a Phil Ochs song on one side and a Bob Dylan song on the other. Being a twelve-year-old kid, I had never heard of Baez or Ochs, although the name Bob Dylan was vaguely familiar to me. Still, I was intrigued by this new kind of music, that was a bit similar to songs I had heard on the radio like Where Have All The Flowers Gone, but yet had a kind of exotic strangeness that set it apart. I still have that record, although my old record player pretty much ruined it, but have since found a copy in fairly decent condition to share with you. Enjoy!

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Poor Mike Nesmith. One of his first compositions to get recorded was Mary Mary, which appeared on the classic 1966 Butterfield Blues Band album East-West. Unfortunately for Mr. Nesmith, his name was inadvertently left out of the credits, leading Butterfield fans to assume it was a band original. Not long after East-West was released Nesmith successfully auditioned for a new TV show about the adventures of an up-and-coming band called the Monkees. The TV show was an instant success, spawning a hit single and album in late 1966, making Nesmith quite famous. When a second Monkees album appeared in January of 1967 with their own version of Mary Mary on it, a lot of people assumed that Nesmith had ripped off the Butterfield Blues Band. In reality, it was the Monkees themselves that were getting screwed, as the album, featuring studio musicians under the supervision of Don Kirschner playing on all the tracks, was released without the knowledge or consent of the band itself.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Take It Back
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks near the city of Mainz that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorded. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Black Magic Woman
Source:    LP: Golden Hits Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Sire (original label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    The original version of Black Magic Woman was the third single released by Fleetwood Mac. Written by the band's founder, Peter Green, the song has become a classic rock standard thanks to the 1970 cover of the song released by Santana on the album Abraxas. Many blues-rock purists, however, prefer the Fleetwood Mac original.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Faultline/The Painter
Source:    LP: Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Lord/Blackmore/Evans/Paice/Simper
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1969
    The third and final album by the original Deep Purple lineup was plagued with bad luck, the worst being that the band's US label, Tetragrammaton Records, ran into financial trouble right after the album was released and was unable to promote either the album or the band itself. The music was also a departure from the band's previous style, which could be described as England's answer to Vanilla Fudge. Deep Purple (the album) was almost entirely made up of original material, including the final track on side one which combines the instrumental Faultline with The Painter. Following the release of the album singer Rod Evans left the band to form Captain Beyond, and Deep Purple (the band) would move in a harder rock direction with new lead vocalist Ian Gillan.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Dunwich
Year:    1966
    The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.