This week we have a couple of artists' sets (Santana and the Rolling Stones), an Advanced Psych segment, and the long overdue first appearance of Iggy Pop's band, the Stooges, on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. And all that accounts for less than a third of the music on this week's show. It all starts with the opening of a music box...
Title: Music Box
Source: LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer(s): Robert Yeazel
Following the release of their 1970 debut album, Sugarloaf recruited Robert Yeazel to be the band's second lead guitarist, joining Jerry Corbetta, Bob Webber, Bob Raymond and Bob MacVittie to record the band's second LP, Spaceship Earth. Yeazel brought strong songwriting skills to the band, and either wrote or co-wrote every song on Spaceship Earth. The album covered a lot more ground musically as well, including the unique and somewhat whimsical Music Box, a Yeazel composition that immediately preceeds the hard-rocking Tongue In Cheek to close out the LP's second side.
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Had To Cry Today
Source: LP: Blind Faith
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
One of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 1969 was Blind Faith, the self-titled debut album of a group consisting of Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, Steve Winwood from Traffic and Rich Grech, who had played bass with a band called Family. The buzz about this new band was such that the rock press had to coin a brand-new term to describe it: supergroup. On release, the album shot up to the number one spot on the charts in record time. Of course, as subsequent supergroups have shown, such bands seldom stick around very long, and Blind Faith set the pattern early on by splitting up after just one LP and a short tour to promote it. The opening track of the album was a pure Winwood piece that showcases both Winwood and Clapton on separate simultaneous guitar tracks.
Artist: Del Shannon
Title: I Think I Love You
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover)
Writer(s): Del Shannon
Label: Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Del Shannon? The guy who did Runaway back in '62? Yep. Also the same Del Shannon who Tom Petty has acknowledged as his number one inspiration and who was on the verge of being asked to replace the late Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys when he himself became the late Del Shannon. Unlike many of his early 60s contemporaries such as Bobby Vee or Fabian, Shannon was able to keep up with the times, as this piece of pure psychedelia (penned by Shannon himself) from the album The Further Adventures of Charles Westover demonstrates.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Cat Talking To Me
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1967, released 2010
The 1967 recording of Cat Talking To Me sat on the shelf for over thirty years before being released as the B side to the Valleys Of Neptune single in 2010. The song is notable for two reasons. The first is rather obvious in that it features a rare lead vocal by drummer Mitch Mitchell. The second thing that makes the song stand out from other Experience recordings is a bit more subtle. Cat Talking To Me is musically much more consistent with Hendrix's later tracks, especially those heard on various posthumous releases, than anything else he was working on in 1967.
Artist: Music Machine
Title: Hey Joe
Source: British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
Label: Big Beat (original US label: Original Sound)
There were actually three slow versions of Hey Joe released in 1966. The first was a summer single by folk singer Tim Rose, who reportedly brainstormed the idea of slowing down the popular garage-rock tune with his friend Sean Bonniwell, leader of the Music Machine. Although Rose's version was the first released, it did not appear on an LP until 1967. The first stereo version of the song was on the Music Machine's first LP, released in the fall. In December a third slow version of Hey Joe was released, but only in the UK and Europe. That version was by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Like Rose's single, the Hendrix version of Hey Joe was originally released only in a mono version, which was remixed in stereo by engineers at Reprise Records for inclusion on the US version of the debut Hendrix LP in 1967. Like the Rose version, the Music Machine arrangement of Hey Joe focuses squarely on the vocals, with the instrumental track serving purely to set the mood for the piece. Unlike with other recordings of Hey Joe released in 1966, the label on the album Turn On The Music Machine correctly credited Billy Roberts as the song's writer.
Title: I Need You
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
After a series of hard-rocking hits in 1964 such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks mellowed out a bit with songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You the following year. Lurking on the other side of Set Me Free, though, was a song that showed that the band still knew how to rock out: I Need You.
Source: LP: Santana
Writer(s): Santana (band)
Santana was originally a free-form jam band, but at the insistence of manager Bill Graham began to write more structured songs for their first studio LP. Released in 1969, the album received less than glowing reviews from the rock press, but following the band's successful appearance at Woodstock, the LP eventually peaked at # 4 on the Billboard album charts. One of the lesser known tracks on the album was Persuasion, a good example of the band doing what their manager told them to do.
Title: Black Magic Woman
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Abraxas and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Peter Green
Label: Priority (original label: Columbia)
A common practice among San Francisco bands was to record their first album in a matter of days then spend months on the follow up. Such was the case with Carlos Santana's band, who resisted pressure from their label to crank out a new album following their successful appearance at Woodstock. The result was Abraxas, released in spring of 1970, still considered to be one of the best rock albums ever made. The album opened with a medley that included their own version of the 1968 Fleetwood Mac song Black Magic Woman. An edited version of the song was released as a single and became the group's biggest hit.
Source: LP: Santana
Possibly the most successful (in the long term) of the musicians to emerge from late 60s San Francisco was Carlos Santana, a Mexican-born guitarist who still plays to sellout crowds worldwide. Santana's band originally got lukewarm reviews from the rock press, but after their legendary performance at Woodstock found themselves among rock's royalty. Waiting, the opening track from the group's 1969 debut LP, is an instrumental that was also released as the B side of the band's first single, Evil Ways.
Title: Little Doll (original John Cale mix)
Source: CD: The Stooges (bonus track)
Writer(s): The Stooges
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2005
Producer John Cale's original mixes for the first Stooges album, done in a style emulating Lou Reed's "closet mix" of the third Velvet Underground LP, were considered "too arty" by Elektra Records honcho Jac Holzman, so he and Iggy Pop went back and remixed the entire album before it was released. The original Cale mixes sat on the shelf for years, finally surfacing as bonus tracks on the 2005 CD reissue of The Stooges. The version of Little Doll heard here is one of those John Cale mixes, albeit pitch corrected.
Artist: John McLaughlin
Source: British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Extrapolation)
Writer(s): John McLaughlin
Label: Polydor (original label: Marmalade)
Best known as the founder of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, guitarist John McLaughlin performed with a number of legendary British artists before recording his solo debut album, Extrapolation, for Giorgio Gomelsky's Marmalade label in 1969. As can be heard on the title track, McLaughlin was already quite accomplished on his instrument at this point in his career. When Marmalade folded McLaughlin moved to New York, where he joined up with Miles Davis (on the Bitches Brew album) before forming the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971. Now known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, the guitarist remains one of the world's most highly respected jazz guitarists.
rtist: Pleasure (featuring Billy Elder)
Title: Poor Old Organ Grinder
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Tandyn Almer
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
Tandyn Almer had one of the most innovative minds in late 60s L.A., both in and out of the recording studio (he was the inventor of the dual-chamber bong, for instance). Poor Old Organ Grinder was a song originally intended for Tommy Flanders, the original lead vocalist for the Blues Project. Flanders, however, was not able to hit the high notes. As Almers was about to cancel the entire project one of the recording engineers, Billy Elder, convinced Almer to let him take a shot at the song, and the result is the recording heard here.
Title: Children Of The Sun
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (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.
Title: Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Label: Sony Music (original label: Windfall)
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.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Get Me To The World On Time
Source: CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes)
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
With I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) climbing the charts in early 1967, the Electric Prunes turned to songwriter Annette Tucker for two more tracks to include on their debut LP. One of those, Get Me To The World On Time (co-written by lyricist Jill Jones) was selected to be the follow up single to Dream. Although not as big a hit, the song still did respectably on the charts (and was actually the first Electric Prunes song I ever heard on FM radio).
Artist: Country Joe McDonald
Title: Black Fish
Source: CD: 50
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rag Baby
The first track that really jumped out at me on Country Joe McDonald's 2017 album 50 was a tune called Black Fish. As is characteristic of McDonald's work, the song is both musically interesting and lyrically savvy. Good stuff!
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: Romeo Void
Title: I Mean It
Source: LP: itsacondition
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: Ten Years After
Title: I'm Going Home
Source: European import CD: Undead
Writer(s): Alvin Lee
Ten Years After was one of those bands that had to be heard live to be truly appreciated. Producer Mike Vernon certainly thought so at any rate, so, midway through recording tracks for a second studio album, he decided to instead rent a small club in London and record the band's performance there. The result was the 1968 album Undead, which includes the original live version of I'm Going Home, the song that would propel the band into the ranks of rock royalty the following year at Woodstock.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: I Need A Man To Love
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound good. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage. Unfortunately, none of the live recordings the band made were considered good enough to be released, so they ended up making studio versions of most of the songs, including I Need A Man To Love, and then added ambient audience noise to them to make them sound like live recordings. Apparently it worked, as the resulting album, Cheap Thrills, ended up being the most successful album of 1968.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Bad Luck And Trouble
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer: Johnny Winter
Label: United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Johnny Winter first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who got caught up in the whole glam rock thing, Johnny Winter remained a respected blues artist for his entire career.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Rambling On
Source: CD: Shine On Brightly
Procol Harum is generally considered to be one of the first progressive rock bands, thanks in part to their second LP, Shine On Brightly. In addition to the album's showpiece, the seventeen minute In Held Twas I, the album has several memorable tracks, including Rambling On, which closes out side one of the original LP. The song's rambling first-person lyrics (none of which actually rhyme) tell the story of a guy who, inspired by a Batman movie, decides to jump off a roof and fly. Oddly enough, he succeeds.
Artist: Southwest F.O.B.
Source: LP: Smell Of Incense
If Tomorrow, from the 1968 LP Smell Of Incense, sounds like an England Dan and John Ford Coley song, it's because it IS an England Dan and John Ford Coley song. The duo, along with Larry "Ovid" Stevens, were the core members of Southwest F.O.B., a popular Dallas band that had started off calling themselves the Playboys Five while the members were still in high school. At the time Coley (whose name was originally spelled Colley) and Seals were both 20 years old. They would find success as a soft rock duo in the late 1970s. In the 1980s Seals would become one of the most successful country artists of the decade.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Lady Jane
Source: British import LP: Aftermath (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original US label: London)
One of the best early Rolling Stones albums is 1966's Aftermath, which included such classics as Under My Thumb, Stupid Girl and the eleven-minute Goin' Home. Both the US and UK versions of the LP included the song Lady Jane, which was also released as the B side to Mother's Little Helper (which had been left off the US version of Aftermath to make room for Paint It, Black). The policy at the time in the US was for B sides that got a significant amount of airplay to be rated separately from the A side of the single, and Lady Jane managed to climb to the # 24 spot on the Hot 100 (Mother's Little Helper peaked at # 8).
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
The Rolling Stones' 1967 album Between The Buttons was made amidst growing problems for the band, both with their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, and guitarist Brian Jones, whose heavy drug use was beginning to take its toll. Exascerbating the problem was the band's increasing frustration with the limitations of four-track technology, which often necessitated bouncing tracks from one machine to another to make room for more tracks, resulting in a loss of overall quality. In fact, Mick Jagger has called the entire album "garbage" (with the exception of one song that was only included on the British version of the LP), due to the poor audio quality of the finished product. Still, some of the songs, like Complicated, are good representations of where the band was musically at the time the album was recorded.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: CD: Aftermath
Label: Abkco (original US label: London)
The 1966 album Aftermath marked a turning point for the Rolling Stones, as it was the first Stones album to be entirely made up of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Although, as with all the early Stones releases, there were differences between the US and UK versions of the album, both releases included Think, a song that is fairly representative of the mid-60s Rolling Stones sound.
Title: Hey Bulldog
Source: CD: Yellow Submarine
The original 1969 Yellow Submarine soundtrack album has always been considered a "non-essential" part of the Beatles catalog, despite containing four songs that were unavailable from any other source. Part of the reason for this is because it was, by all accounts, a "contractual obligation" album, and only two of the four new songs were actually recorded specifically for use in the film. The newest of the four was Hey Bulldog, later described by composer/lead vocalist John Lennon as "a good-sounding record that means nothing". Meaningless or not, Hey Bulldog is indeed a good sounding record, and one of the few to reflect the same sense of whimsy found on the band's annual Christmas records sent to members of their fan club.