This week we have a rather creepy grungy Advanced Psych segment. That, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.
Title: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source: 45 RPM single
In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals. This expanded version of the album first appeared on the ABKCO label in 1973, but with the American, rather than the British, version of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. With all this in mind, I looked for, and finally found, a copy of the original US single.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Caress Me Baby
Source: LP: Projections
Writer: Jimmy Reed
Label: Verve Forecast
After deliberately truncating their extended jams for their first LP, Live At The Cafe Au-Go-Go, the Blues Project recorded a second album that was a much more accurate representation of what the band was all about. Mixed in with the group's original material was this outstanding cover of Caress Me Baby, an old Jimmy Reed tune sung by lead guitarist and Blues Project founder Danny Kalb that runs over seven minutes in length. Andy Kuhlberg's memorable walking bass line would be lifted a few year later by Blood, Sweat and Tears bassist Jim Fielder for the track Blues, Part II.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Manic Depression
Source: Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Polydor (original label: Reprise)
My dad bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder when we moved to Ramstein, Germany in early 1968. It was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. One of my first purchases was a pre-recorded reel to reel tape of Are You Experienced. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: Bookends Theme/Save The Life Of My Child/America
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Bookends)
Writer: Paul Simon
An early example of a concept album (or at least half an album) was Simon And Garfunkel's fourth LP, Bookends. The side starts and ends with the Bookends theme. In between they go through a sort of life cycle of tracks, from Save The Life Of My Child (featuring a synthesizer opening programmed by Robert Moog himself), into America, a song that is very much in the sprit of On The Road, the novel that had inspired many young Americans to travel beyond the boundaries of their own home towns.
Artist: Blues Image
Title: Leaving My Troubles Behind
Source: LP: Blues Image
Writer: Blues Image
Miami's Blues Image was highly regarded by critics and musicians alike. Unfortunately, they were never able to translate that acclaim into album sales, despite recording a pair of fine albums for Atco. Following the release of the band's second LP guitarist Mike Pinera left Blues Image to replace Eric Brann in Iron Butterfly, and after one more unsuccessful album the group disbanded. One of the strongest tracks on either album is Leaving My Troubles Behind, which features lead vocals by drummer Joe Lala.
Title: Waiting For The Sun
Source: CD: Morrison Hotel
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
The third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun, released in 1968, is notable for at least two things that were not on the album itself. The first, and most well-known, was the epic piece Celebration Of The Lizard, which was abandoned when the group couldn't get it to sound the way they wanted it to in the studio (although one section of the piece was included under the title Not To Touch The Earth). The second, and perhaps more obvious omission was the title track of the album itself. The unfinished tapes sat on the shelf until 1970, when the band finally completed the version of Waiting For The Sun that appears on the Morrison Hotel album.
Title: Heart Full Of Soul
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Graham Gouldman
Heart Full Of Soul, the Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love, was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, whose own band, the Mockingbirds, was strangely unable to buy a hit on the charts. Gouldman later went on to be a founding member of 10cc, who were quite successful in the 1970s.
Artist: Syndicate Of Sound
Title: Little Girl
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original labels: Hush & Bell)
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 hit 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: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: The World's On Fire
Source: LP: Incense And Peppermints
So you think because you've heard Incense And Peppermints (the song, not the album) about a million times, you have a pretty good grip on what the Strawberry Alarm Clock was all about? Well, a listen to the opening track of their first LP (also titled Incense And Peppermints) will disabuse you of that notion in a hurry. Running well over eight minutes in length, The World's On Fire is essentially an extended jam showcasing the talents of the band itself, including guitarist Ed King, who would later become a member of Lynyrd Skynryd . The piece was also included in the 1968 film Psych-Out.
Title: To See The Sun
Source: 12" 45 RPM extended play picture disc: The Turtles-1968
Writer: The Turtles
In 1968 the Turtles, feeling restricted by the dictates of producers and record company people, decided to rent studio time to produce some tracks of their own. The result was four songs, three of which were rejected outright by their label, White Whale. (The fourth track, Surfer Joe, was included on their Battle of the Bands album). Several years later a new local L.A. record label, Rhino Records, was looking to move beyond the niche it had carved out for itself as a novelty label. The chance to make previously unreleased material such as To See The Sun from a band as well-known as the Turtles was just what the label was looking for, and, along with re-releasing long out-of-print Turtles albums, got the label moving in a whole new direction that they continue to excel at.
Artist: Kaleidoscope (UK band)
Title: If You So Wish
Source: British import CD: Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
Formed in 1963 as the Sidekicks, the Key, consisting of guitarist Eddy Pumer, bassist/flautist Steve Clark, drummer Danny Bridgman and vocalist/keyboardist Peter Daltrey, changed their name to Kaleidoscope in 1967 when they signed with Fontana Records. After failing to achieve commercial success after releasing five singles and two LPs, they changed their name once again, this time to Fairfield Parlour, taking on a more progressive rock sound on From Home To Home, their only LP for the Vertigo label. Their final release as Kaleidoscope was a single called Balloon, which was backed with a mono mix of If You So Wish, a track from their second LP, Faintly Blowing. The band's last appearance was at a concert in Bremen, Germany, in 1972. The recordings of Kaleidoscope, long lost to obscurity, resurfaced in 2012 on a compilation album called Further Reflections: The Complete Recordings 1967-1969, which has led to band being more popular now than while it was still in existence.
Artist: Eddie Boyd
Title: The Blues Is Here To Stay
Source: German import LP: The Blues
Writer(s): Eddie Boyd
Label: Blue Horizon
Born on a plantation in Mississippi in 1961, blues pianist/vocalist/songwriter Eddie Boyd first came to prominence in the early 1950s with a pair of top 5 R&B singles for the Chess label, 24 Hours and Third Degree, the latter of which was co-written by Willie Dixon. In the mid-1960s, tired of dealing with racial discrimination in the United States, Boyd relocated to Europe, where he released a number of albums for various labels over the next 20 years. Among those LPs was 7936 South Rhodes, which was released on the Blue Horizon label in 1968. A highlight of that album was The Blues Is Here To Stay, which was chosen for inclusion on a German CBS/Blue Horizon compilation album called The Blues.
Artist: Opus 1
Title: Back Seat '38 Dodge
Source: Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mustang)
Long Beach, California was home to Opus 1, who released the high-powered surf-tinged Back Seat '38 Dodge on L.A.'s Mustang label in 1966. The title refers to a controversial sculpture that suburbanites were talking about at the time.
Artist: Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Title: El Dorado
Source: LP: Tasting The Sea
Writer(s): Vertacyn Arc Materializer
Label: 10 GeV
The city of San Francisco seems to produce more than its share of bands that go out of their way to maintain their anonymity. In the early 1970s the Residents even recorded an album called Not Available, intending to not release it until all of the band members had forgotten about its existence (it eventually got released in 1978 during a creative dry spell). These days the San Francisco anonymous band torch is carried by Vertacyn Arc Materializer, a band that is just as hard to describe as the Residents themselves. Their second LP, Tasting The Sea, is only available on Vinyl, and it's packaging is nothing less than spectacular. The front cover is the famous Rolling Stones "mouth" logo dissected by an actual zipper, mimicking the Stones' own Sticky Fingers cover, against a stark white background. Opening the zipper reveals a "circle c" copyright symbol. The back cover featuring "portraits" of each of the four band members: the Starbucks logo (bass, guitar), the US $20 bill version of President Andrew Jackson (drums, trumpet), Marilyn (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Homeland Security, represented by a snarling wolf (vocals, keyboards, guitar). There's even more fun stuff on the inside of the gatefold cover, but I'll let you find your own copy to check it out yourself (if you can find one; apparently there were only 500 pressed). Musically, Tasting The Sea is harder to describe; I'd put it with bands like Killing Joke and Nine Inch Nails, with a little Pere Ubu thrown in, but even that comparison falls short of the reality of Vertacyn Arc Materializer. Perhaps the most accessible track on the album is El Dorado, that has a bit of an early Pink Floyd (and slightly later King Crimson) vibe to it. Enjoy!
Artist: Disreputable Few
Title: Peace Pipe
Source: CD: Ain't Who I Was
Writer(s): Disreputable Few
Credit for Peace Pipe, from the Disreputable Few CD Ain't Who I Was, has to go to our Associate Producer, Greg Cotterill. Greg's contacts in the music business, which far exceed my own, include Dennis McNally, who is closely associated with the Grateful Dead and their own circle of friends. Among that circle is a band called the Disreputable Few, which consists of Mark Tremalgia (guitar, slide guitar, dobro, vocals), Randy Ray Mitchell (guitar, slide guitar, keys, vocals), Paul Ill (bass, upright bass, keys, vocals) and Dan Potruch (drums, precussion). A few months ago I played Farmer Brown, a track recommended by Dennis himself. This time around I'm going with Peace Pipe, the track that most grabbed me the first time I listened to the entire album.
Title: The End
Source: Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s): Oran & Trevor Thornton
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.
Source: Mono CD: Revolver
Writer(s): George Harrison
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.
Title: I Am The Walrus
Source: CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Label: Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
I once ranked over 5000 recordings from the 1920s through the 1990s based on how many times I could listen to each track without getting sick of hearing it. My original intention was to continue the project until I had ranked every recording in my collection, but after about ten years of near-continuous listening to 90-minute cassette tapes that I would update weekly I finally decided that I needed a break, and never went back to it. As a result, many of my favorite recordings (especially album tracks) never got ranked. Of those that did, every song on the top 10 was from the years 1966-69, with the top five all being from 1967. Although I never returned to the project itself, the results I did get convinced me that I was indeed stuck in the psychedelic era, and within five years I had created a radio show inspired by the project. Not surprisingly, the number one recording on my list was I Am The Walrus, a track from the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour that is often considered the apex of British psychedelia.
Title: She Said She Said
Source: CD: Revolver
The last song to be recorded for the Beatles' Revolver album was She Said She Said, a John Lennon song inspired by an acid trip taken by members of the band (with the exception of Paul McCartney) during a break from touring in August of 1965. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, had rented a large house in Beverly Hills, but word had gotten out and the Beatles found it difficult to come and go at will. Instead, they invited several people, including the original members of the Byrds and actor Peter Fonda, to come over and hang out with them. At some point, Fonda brought up the fact that he had nearly died as a child from an accidental gunshot wound, and used the phrase "I know what it's like to be dead." Lennon was creeped out by the things Fonda was saying and told him to "shut up about that stuff. You're making me feel like I've never been born." The song itself took nine hours to record and mix, and is one of the few Beatle tracks that does not have Paul McCartney on it (George Harrison played bass). Perhaps not all that coincidentally, Fonda himself would star in a Roger Corman film called The Trip (written by Jack Nicholson and co-starring Dennis Hopper) the following year.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: LP: Vintage Rock (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer(s): Darby Slick
Label: K-Tel (original label: RCA Victor)
If not for Somebody To Love, no one would even remember that Grace Slick and her husband Jerry were once in a band with her brother-in-law, Darby, who wrote the song.
Artist: Left Banke
Source: Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Smash)
For a while it looked as if the Left Banke would emerge as one of the most important bands of the late 60s. They certainly got off to a good start, with back-to-back top 10 singles Walk Away Renee and Pretty Ballerina. But then bandleader Michael Brown and Smash Records made a serious misstep, issuing a Brown solo effort called Ivy Ivy utilizing studio musicians and trying to pass it off as a Left Banke record. The other band members refused to go along with the charade and sent out letters to their fan club membership denouncing the single. The outraged fans, in turn, threatened to boycott any radio stations that played the single. Brown and the rest of the band, meanwhile, managed to patch things up enough to record a new single, Desiree, and released the song in late 1967. By then, however, radio stations were leery of playing anything with the words Left Banke on the label, and the song failed to chart, despite being an outstanding single. Brown left the Left Banke soon after.
Artist: 13th Floor Elevators
Title: Slip Inside This House
Source: Mono CD: Easter Everywhere
Label: Charly (original US label: International Artists)
The 13th Floor Elevators returned from their only California tour in time to celebrate Christmas of 1966 in their native Texas. Not long after that things began to fall apart for the band. Much of this can be attributed to bad management, but at least some of the problems were internal in nature. Lead guitarist Stacy Southerland was caught with marijuana in the trunk of his car, thus causing his probation to be revoked, which in turn meant he was not allowed to leave the Lone Star state. This in turn caused the entire rhythm section to head off for San Francisco, leaving Southerland, along with Tommy Hall and Roky Erickson, to find replacement members in time to start work on the band's second album, Easter Everywhere. Despite this, the album itself came out remarkably well, and is now considered a high point of the psychedelic era. Unlike the first 13th Floor Elevators album, Easter Everywhere was designed to be a primarily spiritual work. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album's opening track, the eight-minute epic Slip Inside This House. Written primarily by Hall, Slip Inside This House was intended to "establish the syncretic concepts behind Western and Eastern religions, science and mysticism, and consolidate them into one body of work that would help redefine the divine essence". While whether he succeeded or not is a matter of opinion, the track itself is certainly worth hearing for yourself. Enjoy.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source: Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
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: Family Tree
Title: Live Your Own Life
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mira)
The Family Tree was actually one of the first rock bands to play the Fillmore, but even then were seen as interlopers due to their propensity for dressing and sounding like the Beatles and other Mercybeat bands. Live Your Own Life was intended for release on San Francisco's premier local label, Autumn Records, but for some unknown reason ended up on Mira (the same label that released L.A. band the Leaves' first records). Live Your Own Life is sometimes known as The Airplane Song due to its perceived similarity to some early Jefferson Airplane recordings.
Title: The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
The Wind Blows Your Hair is actually one of the Seeds' better tracks. Unfortunately, by the time it was released as a single in October of 1967 the whole idea of Flower Power (which the Seeds were intimately tied to) had become yesterday's news (at least in ultra-hip L.A.) and the single went nowhere.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: You've Never Had It Better
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums (and several singles) before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band have reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.