Sunday, July 18, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2130 (starts 7/19/21)

    This is one of those shows that takes on a different character in each of its four segments. The first segment is made up almost entirely of British tracks (the exception being a Jimi Hendrix tune recorded in 1969 with the band that he would appear with at Woodstock). The second segment features songs with some attitude, with a pair of relatively mellow tunes from San Francisco bands to finish out the hour. Our second hour features Parthenogenesis, possibly the most experimental track ever released by a blues band. The final half hour is like a long shower. It starts off pretty hot, but by the end of the show has gotten pretty cool.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Trip
Source:    Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Donovan had already established a reputation in his native Scotland as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, but had not had much success in the US, where his records were being released on the relatively poorly distributed Hickory label. That all changed in 1966, however, when he began to move beyond his folk roots and embrace a more electric sound. Unlike Dylan, who basically kept the same style as his acoustic songs, simply adding electic instruments, Donovan took a more holistic approach. The result was a body of music with a much broader range of sounds. The first of these new electric tunes was Sunshine Superman, sometimes cited as the first top 10 psychedelic hit. The B side of Sunshine Superman was a song called The Trip, which managed to be even more psychedelic than it's A side. Both songs soon appeared on Donovan's major US label debut, an album that was not even released in the UK due to a contractual dispute between the singer/songwriter and Pye Records.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The album Fresh Cream was perhaps the first LP from a rock supergroup, although at the time a more accurate description would have been British blues supergroup. Much of the album was reworking of blues standards by the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, all of whom had established their credentials with various British blues bands. With their second album, Disraeli Gears, Cream showed a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album to feature the band's original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. The band's founder, Brian Jones, was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Gypsy Sun & Rainbows
Title:    Message To The Universe (Message To Love)
Source:    CD: South Saturn Delta
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/MCA
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1997
    On August 28, 1969, less than two weeks after his appearance at Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix brought his stage band, semi-officially known as Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, to New York's Hit Factory studio to record some new songs he had been working on that summer. The first track recorded was Message To The Universe, a slightly modified version of a tune the band had performed at Woodstock. Hendrix would continue to reshape the tune over the next few months, eventually giving it a new title, Message To Love, and performing it live at Madison Square Garden on January 1st, 1970 with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. That performance was released as the album Band Of Gypsys.

Artist:    Who
Title:    "See Me, Feel Me"
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1969
    One of the best-known songs from the Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy is We're Not Gonna Take It, with its famous "See Me, Feel Me" section. The track serves as the grand finale for the album and was the only part of the Who's performance of Tommy at Woodstock to be included in D.A. Pennebacker's film of the festival. In october or 1970, over a year after the original album came out, the last portion of the track, retitled "See Me, Feel Me" (quotation marks included), was released as a single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love You To
Source:    European import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1966
    Following the release of Rubber Soul in December of 1965, Beatle 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:    George Harrison
Title:    Ski-ing
Source:    CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Starting in 1966 George Harrison showed an intense interest in the music of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and in Indian classical music in general, even to the point of learning to play the sitar himself. His first composition along those lines was Love You To, from the Revolver album, followed in 1967 by Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1968 Harrison took it a step further by composing and performing music for the soundtrack of a film by director Joe Massot called called Wonderwall. The film itself dealt with a wall separating two apartments occupied by individuals from extremely different backgrounds (a lonely college professor and a Vogue model), and a small gap in the wall itself creating a bridge between the two. Harrison used the film as a springboard to fuse music from Eastern (Indian classical) and Western (rock) traditions, introducing Western audiences to various Indian instruments in the process. The album, Wonderwall Music, was Harrison's first solo project as well as the first album released on the Apple label (predating the White album by several weeks). The album featured several guest musicians, including Eric Clapton, who is probably the lead guitarist on Ski-ing, the shortest track on the album. Although Wonderwall Music was not a commercial success at the time of its release, it has since come to be highly regarded as a forerunner of both electronica and world music.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Think For Yourself
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965
    By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing an average of two songs per Beatles album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Twitchin'
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Tamblyn
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1963
    One of the earliest Standells recordings was an instrumental called Twitchin'. The song, written by guitarist Larry Tamblyn, was recorded in 1963, but sat on the shelf until 2014, when it was selected to be released as the B side of a newly discovered live version of their greatest hit, Dirty Water.

Artist:    Nashville Teens
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    KTel (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    The Nashville Teens were not teens. Nor were they from Nashville. In fact, they were one of the original British Invasion bands. Their version of John D. Loudermilk's Tobacco Road was a huge international hit in the summer of 1964. The lead guitar parts on the recording are the work of studio musician Jimmy Page.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard, which had been reissued with a different B side in mid-1966, started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Priority (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Me Two Times
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Although the second Doors album is sometimes dismissed as being full of tracks that didn't make the cut on the band's debut LP, the fact is that Strange Days contains some of the Doors' best-known tunes. One of those is Love Me Two Times, which was the second single released from the album. The song continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    If the release of the first Black Sabbath album in early 1970 marks the birth of heavy metal, then the release of the first Blue Cheer album in 1968 may be considered the point of conception for the form. Certainly, in terms of pure volume, Cheer was unequalled in their live performances (although the Grateful Dead's sound system had more wattage, Owsley Stanley used it judiciously to get the best sound quality as opposed to the sheer quantity of decibels favored by Blue Cheer), and managed to preserve that sense of loudness in the studio. Like Black Sabbath, the members of Blue Cheer had more than a passing familiarity with the blues as well, as evidenced by their inclusion of an old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm, on their debut LP, Vincebus Eruptum (the album included a cover of B.B. King's Rock Me, Baby as well). Contrary to rumors, guitarist Leigh Stephens did not go deaf and kill himself (although he did leave Blue Cheer after the band's second LP, moving to England and releasing a somewhat distortion-free solo album in 1969).

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Dark Star (single version)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Garcia/Hunter
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Studio recording. Single version. Shortest Dark Star ever.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Martha (mono single version)
Source:    Mono CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane made no secret of their residence at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco. In fact, the place was a known hangout for various freaks, acid-heads and hippy types. One the hangers-on, a young heiress, was the inspiration for Martha, a song from the band's third LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The song was also released as the B side to Watch Her Ride and used in a promotional film shown on a Perry Como special in 1967. The film, showing the band members cavorting  in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, uses various editing techniques to make the individual members appear, disappear and jump from place to place as well as speed up and slow down, making it one of the first true rock videos.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Born On The Bayou
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    If there is any single song that sums up what Creedence Clearwater Revival was all about, it could very well be Born On The Bayou, the opening track of CCR's second LP, Bayou Country. The song, which was written by John Fogerty late at night, became the opening for nearly every Creedence concert over the next few years, and is considered by many to be the band's signature song. Oddly enough, John Fogerty had never set foot on a bayou in his life when he wrote the song, but had always been a fan of the movie Swamp Fever, as well as having a fascination with "every other bit of southern bayou information that had entered my imagination from the time I was born."

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Parthenogenesis
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Canned Heat
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    It is extremely unlikely that the members of Canned Heat had the literal meaning of the word parthenogenesis (a natural form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by sperm) in mind when they decided to use it as the title for perhaps the most experiment piece in the history of recorded blues. Parthenogenesis (the Canned Heat track) runs nearly 20 minutes and takes up most of side two of their 1968 double LP Living The Blues. It begins with Nebulosity, featuring Al "Blind Owl" Wilson on jaw-harp, accompanied by guest guitarist John Fahey, which eases into Wilson's solo interpretation of Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin', also on jaw-harp. From there, Parthenogenesis continues with another Wilson solo piece, this one featuring a multi-tracked Owl on four harmonicas and one guitar. Next, it's Robert "The Bear" Hite's turn with a tune called Bear Wires, a tribute to his friend John Mayall, who plays piano on the piece. The next part of Parthogenesis is Snooky Flowers, basically a drum solo from Fito de la Parre, with additional congas provided by Larry "The Mole" Taylor, the band's bassist. Guitarist Henry Vestine then takes center stage with Sunflower Power, which features five multitracked guitars. Wilson returns, this time on chromatic harp with Raga Kafi, which leads into Vestine's Icebag. Parthenogenesis concludes with a reprise of Nebulosity, this time titled Childhood's End. As strange as it may sound, Parthenogenesis is not the longest track on Living The Blues, as the entire third and fourth side of the original album are taken up by a live performance of Refried Boogie that runs 41 minutes total.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Sire (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    Although the Beatles touched off the British Invasion, it was the sheer in-your-face simplicity of You Really Got Me, recorded by an "upstart band of teenagers" from London's Muswell Hill district named the Kinks and released in August of 1964 that made the goal of forming your own band and recording a hit single seem to be a viable one. And sure enough, within a year garages and basements all across America were filled with guitars, amps, drums and aspiring high-school age musicians, some of whom would indeed get their own records played on the radio.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Respect
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Otis Redding
Label:    Volt
Year:    1965
    Released well over a year before Aretha Franklin's version, Otis Redding's Respect was a hit on the R&B charts and managed to crack the lower reaches of the mainstream charts as well. Although not as well known as Franklin's version, the Redding track has its own unique energy and is a classic in its own right. The track, like most of Redding's recordings, features the Memphis Group rhythm section and the Bar-Kays on horns.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    One By One
Source:    LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Theilhelm
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    In 1966 a hit single was the primary measure of an artists' success, which is probably why One By One, from the Blues Magoos' first LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, sounds like it was written specifically with that in mind. In fact, after the first single from their second LP flopped, the band went back into the studio and recorded a new version of One By One that was indeed issued as the band's next single. The song was written by bassist Ron Gilbert and guitarist Peppy Theilhelm, who was 16 at the time the original version of One By One was recorded.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic folk-rock to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Time Will Show The Wiser
Source:    British import CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Emmitt Rhodes
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    Fairport Convention was originally marketed as "the British Jefferson Airplane", and with good reason. Like the Airplane, Fairport featured two lead vocalists, Ian MacDonald and Judy Dyble, and even appeared on the same playbill as the Airplane at the first Isle Of Wight festival in 1968. There was a similarity in the two bands' repertoire as well. Like the Airplane, Fairport relied heavily on cover versions of songs by American songwriters in their early days, and their debut LP featured five of them, including the album's opening track, Emmitt Rhodes' Time Will Show The Wiser. Not long after the album was released Dyble left the group, to be replaced by Sandy Denny, and Fairport Convention began a transition that would ultimately make them one of the most successful British folk revival bands.

Artist:    Sons Of Champlin
Title:    Rooftop
Source:    British import CD: Loosen Up Naturally/Follow Your Heart/The Sons (originally released on LP: Loosen Up Naturally)
Writer(s):    Bill Champlin
Label:    BGO (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    While still in high school in Mill Valley, California in 1965, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bill Champlin hooked up with a band called the Opposite Six, one of the few blue-eyed soul bands on the West Coast. The group did pretty well until both the drummer and the bass player were drafted by the US Army, causing the Opposite Six to fall apart. Champlin, along with saxophone player Tim Cain, soon formed a new band, which after a brief flirtation with the name Masterbeats became the first incarnation of the Sons Of Champlin. The Opposite Six had always featured a horn section, a practice that Champlin continued with his new band. The group signed to Trident Records in 1967, recording an album that remained unreleased until 1999. The following year they got a deal with Capitol Records, and recorded their first album locally at Golden State Recorders.  One of the highlights of the double-LP, Loosen Up Naturally,  was a tune called Rooftop, which is fairly representative of the band's sound. The album did well enough to allow the band to record several more albums before Champlin left to replace Terry Kath in Chicago. Following his departure from that band a few years back, Champlin formed a new Sons Of Champlin band that is still performing regularly.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Cruel Sister
Source:    British Import CD: Cruel Sister
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Pentangle
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    Nearly four years after their self-titled debut LP was released, Pentangle was one of the most (if not the most) popular British folk music based bands in the world. The members of Pentangle, however, were beginning to feel constricted by the expectations that came with their own success and were determined to remain true to their musical roots, regardless of the commercial consequences. With this in mind they set about to record their fourth LP, Cruel Sister. The title track of the album demonstrates the band's willingness to try out new ideas such as extended jazz-style improvisations on a traditional folk tune. Cruel Sister also marked guitarist John Renbourne's first use of an electric guitar on an album, an ironic move considering the entire album was made up of traditional songs.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Don't Want You Woman
Source:    British import CD: Ten Years After
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    Ten Years After takes a shot at rockabilly on Don't Want You Woman, from their 1967 debut album. The song features songwriter Alvin Lee on acoustic guitar and vocals, Leo Lyons on stand up bass and Ric Lee using the brushes on drums. Keyboardist Chick Churchill sits this one out.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Round
Source:     CD: This Was
Writer:     Anderson/Abrahams/Cornish/Bunker
Label:     Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:     1968
     At only a minute in length, Round is the shortest Jethro Tull track on record, as well as being the only one credited to the entire band. It was originally tacked onto the end of the band's debut LP, This Was. Now it's been tacked onto the end of this week's show.

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