This week's show begins with the longest single set ever heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. From there, we continue to experiment with set lengths and song lengths, including a nearly ten minute long hit from Grand Funk Railroad and a late period Beatles set.
Title: Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer: Sky Saxon
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, its local success predating that of the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Who's Driving Your Plane
Source: 45 RPM single B side
By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side (mistitled on the label as Who's Driving My Plane) of Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Purple Haze
Source: CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single and in US on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original US label: Reprise)
Following up on the success of their first UK single, Hey Joe, the Jimi Hendrix Experience released Purple Haze in early 1967. The popularity of the two singles (released only in Europe) led to a deal with Reprise Records to start issuing the band's material in the US. By then, however, the Experience had already released Are You Experienced without either of the two hit singles on it. Reprise, hedging their bets, included both singles (but not their B sides), as well as a third UK single, The Wind Cries Mary, deleting several tracks from the original version of Are You Experienced to make room for them.
Title: Spoonful (live version)
Source: LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
When Atco decided to release Fresh Cream in the US they chose to replace the longest song on the original 1966 British album, a cover of Willie Dixon's Spoonful, with I Feel Free, which was simultaneously released as a single in January of 1967. Because of this change, most American listeners had never heard Cream perform the song until the album Wheels Of Fire was released in 1968. The double LP album featured new studio tracks on the first two sides, and live recordings made at two of San Francisco's most famous concert venues on the other two. The longest of the four live tracks was a sixteen and a half long version of Spoonful recorded at the Winterland Ballroom (although the label reads "Live at the Fillmore"). Cream had already achieved legendary status for their ability to improvise on stage, but none of their studio recordings had reflected that aspect of the group. The live version of Spoonful heard on Wheels Of Fire quickly became an underground FM radio staple and has been considered the definitive Cream "jam" song ever since.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: I Love Everybody
Source: LP: Second Winter
Writer(s): Johnny Winter
Following the success of Johnny Winter's self-titled Columbia debut LP, the guitarist went to work on a followup LP with a slightly expanded lineup. In addition to future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, the group featured Winter's brother Edgar on keyboards. When it came time to set the final track lineup, however, they realized they had recorded more material than they could fit on a standard LP, but not enough for a double album. Not wanting to leave any of the material they had recorded off the album, they decided to release Second Winter as a three-sided LP (the fourth side being left totally blank). Although not a conventional solution, a listen to tracks like I Love Everybody (which opens side three of the LP) shows that it was totally justified.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Source: LP: Cosmo's Factory
Creedence Clearwater Revival were known for their tight arrangements of relatively short songs at a time when album tracks, as a general rule, were getting longer and longer. Still, there are exceptions; the most obvious of these was their cover of Marvin Gaye's I Heard It Through The Grapevine on their 1970 LP Cosmo's Factory. At slightly over eleven minutes, Grapevine is CCR's longest studio recording. Despite this, according to bassist Stu Cook, the song was performed in the studio exactly as planned, with "no room for noodling". Although not a major top 40 hit, I Heard It Through The Grapevine has proved to be one of CCR's most enduring tracks, still getting occasional airplay on classic rock radio.
Artist: Full Tilt Boogie Band
Title: Buried Alive In The Blues
Source: CD: The Pearl Sessions (originally released on LP: Pearl)
Writer(s): Nick Gravenites
The Full Tillt Boogie Band was formed in the late 60s as a side project by New York studio guitarist John Till. All the members, including Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson were Canadian citizens, mostly hailing from the province of Ontario. In 1969, Till, along with several other studio musicians, were tapped to become Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band, backing up the vocalist on her solo debut album. Joplin, however, was not entirely comfortable with all the members of this new band, and after the album itself got mostly negative reviews from critics and fans alike, Joplin decided to disband the group, keeping only Till. Till then convinced her to use the Full Tilt Boogie Band (dropped the second "L" in Tillt) for her next album, Pearl. The new combo started touring in the spring of 1970, beginning work on the album itself that September. At the time of Joplin's sudden death on October 4, 1970, the band had completed all the basic tracks for the album; only one song, Buried Alive In The Blues, lacked a usable vocal track. Although Nick Gravenites, the Electric Flag veteran who had written the tune, offered to provide vocals for the track, the band decided to keep it an instrumental instead.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source: LP: Vanilla Fudge
Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.
Artist: Grand Funk Railroad
Title: I'm Your Captain
Source: CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s): Mark Farner
I first switched from guitar to bass during my junior year in high school, when I joined a band that already had a much better guitarist than I was, but no bass player. Like Noel Redding, I started by using an old acoustic guitar with a pickup, turning the tone control to its lowest setting. It wasn't until spring that I finally got an actual bass to play (a Hofner Beatle that I paid the German equivalent of $90 for at a small local music shop). The band itself was modeled on early power trios like Cream and Blue Cheer, which basically meant that I was playing pseudo leads in the lower register, hopefully in some sort of counterpoint to what the lead guitarist was playing. It wasn't until I returned to the States and hooked up with a band that had two guitarists and played actual songs that I learned what playing the bass was really about. One of those songs was I'm Your Captain by Grand Funk Railroad. Borrowing a copy of the Closer To Home album I listened closely to Mel Schacher's bass lines, especially the riffs on the intro to I'm Your Captain and during the transition to the song's second movement. To this day I credit Schascher as being the most important influence on my own bass playing (even though I haven't actually picked up a bass guitar since 1989).
Source: CD: The Beatles
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
John Lennon's songwriting continued to take a more personal turn with the 1968 release of The Beatles, also known as the White Album. Perhaps the best example of this is the song Julia. The song was written for Lennon's mother, who had been killed by a drunk driver in 1958, although it also has references to Lennon's future wife Yoko Ono (Yoko translates into English as Ocean Child). Julia is the only 100% solo John Lennon recording to appear on a Beatles album.
Title: Abbey Road Medley #2
Source: LP: Abbey Road
The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys (although some rock historians treat it as one long medley). The second one consists of three songs credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Golden Slumbers is vintage McCartney, while Carry That Weight has more of a Lennon feel to it. The final section,The End, probably should have been credited to the entire band, as it contains the only Ringo Starr drum solo on (a Beatles) record as well as three sets of alternating lead guitar solos (eight beats each) from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon (in that order).
Title: Glass Onion
Source: CD: The Beatles
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
John Lennon decided to have a little fun with Beatles fans when he wrote the lyrics to Glass Onion, the third song on the 1968 album The Beatles (aka the White Album). The song contains references to many earlier Beatles tunes, such as Strawberry Fields Forever, The Fool On The Hill and Lady Madonna. Glass Onion even contains a tongue-in-cheek reference to the whole "Paul is dead" rumor with the lines "Here's another clue for you all, the walrus was Paul". The track is notable for being the first song on the album to feature the entire band, as Paul McCartney played drums on both Back In The USSR and Dear Prudence, which precede Glass Onion on the album's first side.
Title: Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source: CD: Woodstock 2
Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along. This particular recording, from the Woodstock 2 album, sounds like a different performance than the one heard on the Rhino 40th anniversary box set. The story I heard is that the band was unhappy with the actual Woodstock recording (due to both technical and performance flaws) and provided an alternate live recording to be used on the original LP. The fact that the 40th anniversary version includes a section where the vocals are inaudible, but that are clearly heard on this recording, adds credibility to that story.
Artist: Moby Grape
Title: Boysenberry Jam
Source: LP: Grape Jam
For their second album, San Francisco's Moby Grape decided to throw in something extra. Instead of a single LP at the standard price, the group added a second album for just a dollar more. This second album, packaged in its own cover, was made up of a series of jam sessions featuring various band members, with a couple of guest artists thrown in. One of the hardest rocking of these was Boysenberry Jam, which features guitarist Jerry Miller, drummer Don Stevenson and bassist Bob Mosley on their usual instruments, along with Skip Spence playing the piano. This was really not all that much of a stretch, given that Spence, normally a guitarist, had been the original drummer of Jefferson Airplane, proving his versatility.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Positively 4th Street
Source: CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Recorded during the same 1965 sessions that produced the classic Highway 61 Revisited album, Positively 4th Street was deliberately held back for release as a single later that year. The stereo mix of the song was not issued until the first Dylan Greatest Hits album was released in 1967.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes
Source: Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s): Blind Willie Johnson
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
One lasting legacy of the British Invasion was the re-introduction to the US record-buying public to the songs of early Rhythm and Blues artists such as Blind Willie Johnson. This emphasis on classic blues in particular would lead to the formation of electric blues-based US bands such as the Butterfield Blues Band and the Blues Project. Unlike the Butterfields, who made a conscious effort to remain true to their Chicago-style blues roots, the Blues Project was always looking for new ground to cover, which ultimately led to them developing an improvisational style that would be emulated by west coast bands such as the Grateful Dead, and by Project member Al Kooper, who conceived and produced the first rock jam LP ever, Super Session, in 1968. As the opening track to their second (and generally considered best) LP Projections, I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes served notice that this was a new kind of blues, louder and brasher than what had come before, yet tempered with Kooper's melodic vocal style. An added twist was the use during the song's instrumental bridge of an experimental synthesizer known among band members as the "Kooperphone", probably the first use of any type of synthesizer in a blues record.
Artist: Third Bardo
Title: I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).
Artist: Frumious Bandersnatch
Source: British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on untitled EP)
Writer(s): Jack King
Label: Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
The longest track on the Frumious Bandersnatch EP (taking up the entire second side of the record), was a tune called Cheshire. Although the recent British CD issue of The Berkeley EPs credits Bob Winkleman as the writer of the piece, the liner notes of the same CD make it clear that Cheshire is actually the work of drummer Jackson King; in fact, the song dates back to the band's earliest days with its original lineup. Like the band name itself, the title of the track reflects King's intense interest in the works of Lewis Carroll.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Source: CD: Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
After the original Animals broke up in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon recorded a solo album, Eric Is Here, using mostly studio musicians, but credited officially to Eric Burdon And The Animals. He then set about organizing a new Animals band that included drummer Barry Jenkins (who had been a member of the original band and had played on Eric Is Here), guitarist/violinist John Weider, guitarist/pianist Vic Briggs and bassist Danny McCulloch. One of the first appearances of the New Animals on stage was at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The experience (pun intended) so impressed the group that they wrote a song about it. The song was issued both as a single and on the LP: The Twain Shall Meet. The single used a mono mix; the LP version, while in stereo, was overlapped at both the beginning and end by adjoining tracks, and was missing the first few seconds of the single version. The version used here was created by splicing the mono intro onto the stereo main portion of the song, fading it a bit early to avoid the overlap from the LP. This process (called making a "cut down") was first done by a company called Drake-Chenault, which supplied tapes to radio stations using the most pristine stereo versions of songs available. Whether Polydor used the Drake-Chenault version or did the cut down itself, the version is the same.