Sunday, October 31, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2145 (starts 11/1/21)

    This week, in anticipation to setting our clocks back an hour, the sets are a bit longer than usual. (Actually, it has nothing to do with Daylight Savings Time, but you  sometimes you gotta find a tie-in where you can). We also have a pair of artists sets hidden in here somewhere, but you'll just have to read the playlist (or better yet listen to the show) to find them.
Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 the Spencer Davis Group had already racked up an impressive number of British hit singles, but had yet to crack the US top 40. This changed when the band released Gimme Some Lovin', an original composition that had taken the band about an hour to develop in the studio. The single, released on Oct 28, went to the #2 spot on the British charts. Although producer Jimmy Miller knew he had a hit on his hands, he decided to do a complete remix of the song, including a brand new lead vocal track, added backup vocals and percussion and plenty of reverb, for the song's US release. His strategy was successful; Gimme Some Lovin', released in December of 1966, hit the US charts in early 1967, eventually reaching the #7 spot. The US remix has since become the standard version of the song, and has appeared on countless compilations over the years.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Daydream
Source:    Mono LP: Daydream
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    One of the most popular songs of 1966 was Daydream by the Lovin' Spoonful. Like many of the songs on the Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful album, Daydream is a departure from the style of the band's early singles such as Do You Believe In Magic. It's also one of the few songs with whistling in it to hit the number one spot on the charts.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Walk Away Renee
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Brown/Calilli/Sansune
Label:    Smash
Year:    1966
    The Left Banke's Walk Away Renee is one of the most covered songs in rock history, starting with a version by the Four Tops less than two years after the original recording had graced the top 5. The Left Banke version kicked off what was thought at the time to be the latest trend: baroque rock. The trend died an early death when the band members themselves made some tactical errors resulting in radio stations being hesitant to play their records.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I've Got A Way Of My Own
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    L. Ransford
Label:    Sundazed/Reprise
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2016
    Not all of the songs the Electric Prunes recorded during sessions for their debut LP, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), ended up being included on the album itself. Among the unused tracks was a cover of a Hollies B side called I've Got A Way Of My Own. The song was actually one of the first tunes that the band recorded, while they were still, in the words of vocalist James Lowe, "searching for a sound and style we could capture on a record." Following the sessions the band decided that harmonies were better left to other groups, and I've Got A Way Of My Own remained unreleased until the 21st century.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Zig Zag Wanderer
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Safe As Milk)
Writer(s):    Don Van Vliet
Label:    Rhino (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1967
    Don Van Vliet made his first recordings as Captain Beefheart in 1965, covering artists like Bo Diddley in a style that could best be described as "punk blues." Upon hearing those recordings A&M Records, despite its growing reputation as a hot (fairly) new label, promptly cancelled the project. Flash forward a year or so. Another hot new label, Buddah Records, an offshoot of Kama Sutra Records that had somehow ended up being the parent rather than the subsidiary, was busy signing new acts like Johnny Winter, and ended up issuing Safe As Milk in 1967 as their very first LP. The good captain would eventually end up on his old high school acquaintance Frank Zappa's Bizarre Records, turning out classic albums like Trout Mask Replica, and the world would never be quite the same.

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:    Nite Watchmen
Title:    Mimic Jester
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wylde Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Turner/Brown
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Now!)
Year:    1969
    Findlay, Ohio, is home to the Marathon Oil and Cooper Tire companies. Sitting on the Blanchard River, Findlay was a stop on the underground railroad in the mid 1800s and the inspiration for the song Down By The Old Mill Stream in 1910. In the late 1960s Findlay was the home of the Nite Watchmen, a garage-punk band that released three singles on (at least) three different local labels. The second (and best) of these was Mimic Jester, which appeared on the Now! label (based in nearby Fremont, Ohio) in March of 1969.

Artist:    Bloodrock
Title:    Castle Of Thoughts
Source:    CD: Bloodrock
Writer(s):    Rutledge/Pickens
Label:    One Way/Cema Special Markets (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1970
    Formed in Fort Worth, Texas in 1963 as the naturals, Bloodrock went through several personnel and at least one name change (to Crowd+1) before being discovered by Grand Funk Railroad producer Terry Knight in 1969. Knight (who came up with the name Bloodrock) signed the band to Capitol Records, releasing their first self-titled LP in 1970. Although seldom singled out by reviewers, Castle Of Thoughts, the second track on that album, found its way onto the B side of two different singles in 1972, including a reissue of Bloodrock's best-known song, D.O.A.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    No One To Depend On
Source:    Mexican import LP: Los Grandes Exitos De Santana (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carabella/Escobida/Rolie
Label:    CBS (US label: Columbia)
Year:    1971
    Santana's third LP (which like their debut LP was called simply Santana), was the last by the band's original lineup. Among the better-known tracks on the LP was No One To Depend On, featuring a guitar solo by teen phenom Neal Schon (who would go on to co-found Journey). On the album the song is cross-faded with the song preceding it. The only place the stereo version appears "in the clear" is on the band's greatest hits album, released in 1974.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Que Vida!
Source:    German import CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    The first Love album was pretty much garage rock. Their second effort, however, showed off the rapidly maturing songwriting skills of both Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. Que Vida! (yes, I know that technically there should be an upside down exclamation point at the beginning of the song title, but Notepad doesn't speak Spanish) is a good example of Lee moving into territory usually associated with middle-of-the-road singers such as Johnny Mathis. Lee would continue to defy convention throughout his career, leading to a noticable lack of commercial success even as he overwhelmingly won the respect of his musical peers.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Red Telephone
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Love's Forever Changes album, released in late 1967, is known for its dark imagery that contrasted with the utopian messages so prevalent in the music associated with the just-passed summer of love. One of the tracks that best illustrates Arthur Lee's take on the world at that time is The Red Telephone, which closes out side one of the album. The title, which refers to the famous cold war hotline between Washington and Moscow, does not actually appear in the song's lyrics. Instead, the most prominent line of the song is a chant repeated several times that refers to the repression of youth culture in the US, particularly in Los Angeles, where the city had enacted new ordinances that had virtually destroyed the vibrant club scene that had given rise to such bands as the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and of course Love. The chant itself: "They're locking them up today, they're throwing away the key; I wonder who it'll be tomorrow, you or me?" expresses an idea that would be expanded on by Frank Zappa the following year on the landmark Mothers Of Invention album We're Only In It For The Money.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    German import CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1966
    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, with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast (from the Elektra sound effects library) followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Raven (original label: Epic)
Year:    1965
    For many, the Yardbirds version of I'm a Man is the definitive version of this Bo Diddley classic. Oddly enough, the song was released as a single only in the US, where it made it into the top 10 in 1965.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1965
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page and had shifted musical gears).

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Maker
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK on LP: Butterfly and in US on LP: Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    EMI (original UK label: Parlophone, original US label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Graham Nash was the one of the three core members of the Hollies who pushed the other two (the other two being Tony Hicks and Allan Clarke) into the band's most psychedelic phase in 1967, first with the single King Midas In Reverse and then with the album Butterfly (which was issued in substantially altered form as Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse in the US). Nash's influence can be heard throughout the album, especially on Maker, which meshes Nash's penchant for experimentation with the group's trademark harmonies. This change in musical direction did not sit well with the rest of the band, however, and ultimately led to Nash's departure from the Hollies in 1968.
Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    (Ballad Of The) Hip Death Goddess
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations. The recording has in more recent years been used by movie producers looking to invoke a late 60s atmosphere.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    This Boy
Source:    CD: Past Masters-volume one (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM B side and in the US on LP: Meet The Beatles)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1963
    Originally released in late 1963 as the B side of I Want To Hold Your Hand in the UK, This Boy, featuring the Beatles' signature three-part harmonies from John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, was included on Capitol's Meet The Beatles, released in early 1964.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Cat's Squirrel
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. S. Splurge
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    One of the few instrumentals in the Cream repertoire, Cat's Squirrel was something of a blues standard whose origins are lost in antiquity. Unlike the 1968 Jethro Tull version, which emphasises Mick Abrahams's guitar work, Cream's Cat's Squirrel is heavy on the harmonica, played by bassist Jack Bruce. Arranger credits for the recording were given to S. Splurge, a pseudonym for the band itself, in the tradition of Nanker Phelge.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 15 seconds or so from the original recording.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sweet Wine
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Baker/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was formed, both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had new music for the band to record (guitarist Eric Clapton having chosen to shut up and play his guitar for the most part). Most of these new songs, however, did not yet have words to go with the music. To remedy the situation, both musicians brought in outside lyricists. Baker chose poet Pete Brown, while Bruce chose to bring in his wife, Janet Godfrey. After a short time it became apparent that Bruce and Brown had a natural affinity for each other's material, and formed a partnership that would last years. Baker, meanwhile, tried working with Godfrey, but the two only came up with one song together, Sweet Wine, which was included on the band's debut LP, Fresh Cream.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    German import CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Why (RCA Studios version)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    One of the highlights of the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday album, released in early 1967, was a song co-written by David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn called Why. Many of the band's fans already knew that a different version of the song had already been released as the B side of Eight Miles High the previous year. What was not as well-known, however, was that both songs had been first recorded at the RCA Studios in Burbank in December of 1965, but rejected by Columbia due to their being produced at studios owned by a hated competitor. Crosby has since said that he prefers the RCA recording to the later ones made at Columbia's own studios, calling it "stronger...with a lot more flow to it".
Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Blessed
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Possibly the most psychedelic track on Simon And Garfunkel's Sounds Of Silence album, Blessed is a classic example of structured chaos, combining a wall of sound approach with tight harmonies and intelligent lyrics. One of the duo's most overlooked recordings.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Smiling Phases
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released in UK as 45 RPM B side and in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind, aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Wood/Winwood
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    The standard practice in the UK during the 60s was to not include songs that had been released as singles on LPs. This left several songs, such as the 1967 B side Smiling Phases, only available on 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits anthology was released. In the US the song was more widely circulated, having been included on the American version of Traffic's debut LP. Smiling Phases has since come to be recognized as one of Traffic's most iconic tunes, and has been covered by such bands as Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Quite Rightly So
Source:    LP: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually awake enough to do that.

Artist:    Thunderclap Newman
Title:    Something In The Air
Source:    Mono LP: The Magic Christian (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Keen
Label:    Commonwealth United (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1969
    Thunderclap Newman was actually the creation of the Who's Pete Townshend, who assembled a bunch of studio musicians to work with drummer (and former Who roadie) John "Speedy" Keen. Keen had written Armenia City In The Sky, the opening track on The Who Sell Out, and Townshend set up the studio project to return the favor. Joining Keen were 15-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch (who would eventually join Paul McCartney's Wings before dying of a heroin overdose in 1979), studio engineer Andy "Thunderclap" Newman (who had worked with Pink Floyd, among others) on piano, and Townshend himself on bass. Following the success of Something In The Air, the group recorded an album, but sales were disappointing and the band members soon went their separate ways.

Artist:    Crow
Title:    Cottage Cheese (long version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Weigand/Waggoner
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2013
    In late 1970 I found myself living in Alamogordo, NM, which was at the time one of those places that still didn't have an FM station (in fact, the only FM station we could receive was a classical station in Las Cruces, 70 miles away). To make it worse, there were only two AM stations in town, and the only one that played current songs went off the air at sunset. As a result the only way to hear current music at night (besides buying albums without hearing them first) was to "DX" distant AM radio stations. Of these, the one that came in most clearly and consistently was KOMA in Oklahoma City. My friends and I spent many a night driving around with KOMA cranked up, fading in and out as long-distance AM stations always do. One of those nights we were all blown away by this track, which, due to the conservative nature of the local daytime-only station, was not getting any local airplay. Years later I was lucky enough to find a copy in a thrift store in Albuquerque. More recently I picked up a copy of The Best Of Crow, a 2013 CD collection that includes the original unissued long version of the song as it was usually performed live, including a drum solo from Denny Craswell.

Artist:    Sly And The Family Stone
Title:    Everybody Is A Star
Source:    CD: The Essential Sly And The Family Stone (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sylvester Stewart
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Originally released as a B side, Everybody Is A Star is possibly the most positive song ever written. The tune was included on Sly And The Family Stone's first Greatest Hits LP and has since appeared on a variety of compilation albums.

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Wake Up
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hamlisch/Hirschman
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Although they had been releasing records (as a gospel group) since 1962, the Chambers Brothers didn't become a national success until 1967, when underground FM stations across the nation began playing the ten-minute long Time Has Come Today. The following year and edited version of the song began receiving airplay on some top 40 stations. A couple of follow-up singles from the band's next LP, Love, Peace And Happiness, were released in 1969, but did not have the impact of Time Has Come Today. After getting screwed over by a series of managers and promoters the Chambers Brothers decided to call it quits in 1972, but reformed a couple of years later and have been recording and performing sporadically since then.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff today... Is there any back story to the Cream tune 'White Room'?