Sunday, November 28, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2149 (starts 11/29/21)

    We've been kind of neglecting Jefferson Airplane lately, so to make up for it we have a nearly eighteen minute long artists' set from them this week, about the same length as a typical LP side of the rock era. Also on tap: a Donovan set and several tracks making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut, including one from an ad hoc British blues-rock supergroup put together specifically for one recording session only.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever to crack the top 40 charts.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     SWLABR
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
    Year: 1967
    I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.

Artist:    Bee Gees
Title:    The Earnest Of Being George
Source:    LP: Horizontal
Writer(s):    Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    The 1968 LP Horizontal is generally considered to the Bee Gees' heaviest album, as demonstrated by songs like The Earnest Of Being George. In the words of lead guitarist Vince Melouney: "It was a band effort. We all felt that we were a part of one thing, we'd just try different things. It wasn't like it was the Gibb brothers, Colin (Petersen-drummer) and me. We were all in the Bee Gees together! 'Horizontal' made its way into the top 20 worldwide and helped cement the Bee Gees place as real contenders. And this was only the beginning!"

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    The Air
Source:    LP: The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook (originally released on LP: Uncle Meat)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Bizarre/Reprise)
Year:    1969
    The fifth Mothers Of Invention album, Uncle Meat, was originally intended to be a soundtrack album for a movie that was never completed (although some of the footage was released in the 1980s). It was also part of Frank Zappa's No Commercial Potential project, along with the albums  We're Only in It for the Money, Lumpy Gravy and Cruising with Ruben & the Jets. As Zappa put it: "It's all one album. All the material in the albums is organically related and if I had all the master tapes and I could take a razor blade and cut them apart and put it together again in a different order it still would make one piece of music you can listen to. Then I could take that razor blade and cut it apart and reassemble it a different way, and it still would make sense. I could do this twenty ways. The material is definitely related." I'm thinking that it would be fun to put them all in one of those five-disc CD players and hit the "random" button just to test that out. When Warner Brothers put together their first "loss leaders" album in 1969, they chose The Air from Uncle Meat as Zappa's contribution to the budget-priced double LP set (available only through mail order).

Artist:    Stephen Stills & Jimi Hendrix
Title:    No-Name Jam
Source:    Promo CD: Selections from Carry On
Writer(s):    Stills/Hendrix
Label:    Atlantic/Rhino
Year:    1970
    For his first solo LP, Stephen Stills brought in several big name guest musicians, including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Booker T. Jones and Jimi Hendrix. Although Hendrix played on only one track, Old Times Good Times,  on the album itself, a warm up jam featuring both Hendrix and Stills on guitar remained in the vaults for several years, finally seeing the light of day on the 2013 Stephen Stills box set Carry On.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     You Keep Me Hangin' On (includes Illusions Of My Childhood part one and two)
Source:     Mono LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):     Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, the the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit. The original album version was considerably longer than the single, however, due in part to the inclusion of a framing sequence called Illusions Of My Childhood (basically a series of short psychedelic instrumental pieces incorporating themes from familiar nursery rhymes such as Farmer In The Dell and Ring Around The Rosie). You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally mixed only in mono as a kind of audition tape for the band. Rather than re-record the song for their debut LP, the band chose to use that original mono mix.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire (single version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Apparently I was not the only one, as the song spent three weeks at the top of the charts in July of 1967. Despite this success, the single version of the song, which runs less than three minutes, is all but forgotten by modern radio stations, which universally choose to play the full-length album version. Nonetheless, the single version, which was created by editing out most of the solo instrumental sections of the piece, is a historical artifact worth an occasional listen.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Desiree
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brown/Feher
Label:    Rhino (original label: Smash)
Year:    1967
    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:    Donovan
Title:    There Is A Mountain
Source:    British import CD: Mellow Yellow (bonus track originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    1967 was a year that saw Donovan continue to shed the "folk singer" image, forcing the media to look for a new term to describe someone like him. As you may have already guessed, that term was "singer-songwriter." On There Is A Mountain, a hit single from 1967, Donovan applies Eastern philosophy and tonality to pop music, with the result being one of those songs that sticks in your head for days.
Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Ferris Wheel
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    In the fall of 1966 the career of Scottish folk singer Donovan Leitch took an odd turn. Up until that point in time he had a run of successful records in the UK but got very little airplay in the US. Two events, however, combined to turn the entire situation around 180 degrees. First, Donovan had just signed a contract with Epic Records in the US, a major step up from the poorly distributed and even more poorly promoted Hickory label. At the same time contract negotiations between the singer/songwriter and his British label, Pye, had come to an impasse. As a result Donovan's next LP, Sunshine Superman, was released only in the US, making songs like Ferris Wheel unavailable to his oldest fans. His popularity in the UK suffered greatly from lack of any new recordings over the next year, while it exploded in the US with consecutive top 10 singles Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow in 1966. From that point on Donovan would have his greatest success in North America, even after securing a new record contract in the UK in late 1967.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    CD: Epistle To Dippy (alternative arrangement)
Source:    CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Following up on his successful Mellow Yellow album, Donovan released Epistle To Dippy in the spring of 1967. The song, utilizing the same kind of instrumentation as Mellow Yellow, was further proof that the Scottish singer was continuing to move beyond the restrictions of the "folk singer" label and was quickly becoming the model for what would come to be called "singer/songwriters" in the following decade. Due to an ongoing contractual dispute between the artist and his UK record label (Pye), Epistle To Dippy was only released in the US. This "alternative" arrangement of the song was recorded about 10 months after the single version and features a violin prominently, replacing the electric guitar used on the original and giving the song a kind of gypsy vibe.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Homeward Bound
Source:    LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1966
    Following the success of Sounds Of Silence, Paul Simon And Art Garfunkel set about making an album of all new material (Sounds Of Silence had featured several re-recorded versions of tunes from the 1965 British album The Paul Simon Songbook). The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, one of the finest folk-rock albums ever recorded. The album contained several successful singles, including Homeward Bound.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I'm Only Sleeping
Source:    CD: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Record buyers in the US were able to hear I'm Only Sleeping several weeks before their British counterparts thanks to Capitol Records including the song on the US-only Yesterday...And Today LP. There was a catch, however. Producer George Martin had not yet made a stereo mix of the song, and Capitol used their "Duophonic" system to create a fake stereo version of the tune for the album. That mix continued to be used on subsequent pressings of the LP (and various tape formats), even after a stereo mix was created and included on the UK version of the Revolver album. It wasn't until EMI released the entire run of UK albums on CD in both the US and UK markets that American record buyers had access to the true stereo version of the song heard here.

Artist:     Kinks
Title:     Deadend Street
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Year:     1967
     The last major Kinks hit of the 1960s in the US was Sunny Afternoon in the summer of 1966. The November follow-up, Deadend Street, was in much the same style, but did not achieve the same kind of success in the US (although it was a top five hit in the UK). Although the Kinks would get some minor airplay for subsequent singles such as Victoria, the would not have another major US hit until Lola was released in 1970.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Just Like Me (stereo remix)
Source:    CD: The Legend Of Paul Revere (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dey/Brown
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Just Like Me was the first top 10 single from Paul Revere And The Raiders, a band that deserves much more credit than they are generally given. The group started in the early part of the decade in Boise, Idaho, when Revere (his real name) hooked up with saxophonist Mark Lindsay. Like most bands at the time, the Raiders' repertoire consisted mostly of instrumentals, as PA systems were a luxury that required more space than was generally allotted to a small town band. It wasn't long before the Raiders relocated to Portland, Oregon, where they became a popular attraction at various clubs. After a hiatus caused by Revere's stint in the military, the band resumed its place as one of the founding bands of the Portland music scene. They soon made their first visit to a recording studio, recording Richard Berry's Louie Louie at around the same time as another popular Portland band, the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen's version ended up being a huge national hit while the popularity of the Raiders' version was mostly restricted to the West Coast, thanks in large part to the active lack of support from Columbia Records, whose head of Artists and Repertoire (A&R), Mitch Miller, was an outspoken critic of rock 'n' roll. Undeterred, the band continued to grow in popularity, recording another single in 1964 (Like Long Hair) and going on tour. It was while playing in Hawaii that the band was noticed by none other than Dick Clark, who hired them to be the house band on his new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is. Under the leadership of Mitch Miller Columbia Records had done their best to ignore the existence of rock 'n' roll (an effort that was somewhat undermined by one of their most popular artists, Bob Dylan, in 1965, when he went electric). Columbia had, however, a more open-minded West Coast division that included producer Terry Melcher, son of singer Doris Day and co-producer of the Rip Chords' hot rod hit Hey Little Cobra. With the Raiders now being seen daily on a national TV show, the label assigned Melcher to produce the band's records. It was a partnership that would lead to a string of hits, starting with Steppin' Out in 1965. The next record, Just Like Me, was the first of a string of top 10 singles that would last until early 1967, when rapidly changing public tastes made the band seem antiquated compared to up and coming groups like Jefferson Airplane. Just Like Me, despite some rather cheesy lyrics, still holds up well after all these years. Much of the credit for that has to go to Drake Levin, whose innovative double-tracked guitar solo rocked out harder than anything else on top 40 radio at the time (with the possible exception of a couple of well-known Kinks songs).

Artist:    Shadows of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (essentially substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Mr. Second Class
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hardin/Davis
Label:    1967
Year:    Grapefruit (original label: United Artists)
            The Spencer Davis Group managed to survive the departure of their star member, Steve Winwood (and his bass playing brother Muff) in 1967, and with new members Eddie Hardin (vocals) and Phil Sawyer (guitar) managed to get a couple more singles on the chart over the next year or so. The last of these was Mr. Second Class, a surprisingly strong composition from Hardin and Davis.
Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Flyte Of The Byrd
Source:    German import CD: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    For their second LP, Detroit's Amboy Dukes decided to divide the songwriting on the album evenly between lead guitarist Ted Nugent and rhythm guitarist/vocalis Steve Farmer, with Nugent getting side one of the original LP and Farmer writing side two. As it turned out, the two ended up contributing to each other's side, but there were still some tracks, such as Nugent's Flyte Of The Byrd, that were solo compositions. The song itself gives a hint as to the direction the band's music would take over the next couple of years.
Artist:    Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse
Title:    Steppin' Out
Source:    Mono LP: What's Shakin'
Writer(s):    Memphis Slim
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    In mid-1966 a curiousity appeared on the record shelves from a small, New York based record company specializing in folk and blues recordings. The label was Elektra and the LP was called What's Shakin'. It was basically a collection of mostly unrelated tracks that had been accumulating in Elektra's vaults for several months. Elektra had sent producer Joe Boyd to England to help open a new London office for the label, and while there he made the acquaintance of several local blues musicians, some of which he talked into recording a few songs for Elektra. These included guitarist Eric Clapton (from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers), vocalist Steve Winwood and drummer Pete York (from the Spencer Davis Group), bassist Jack Bruce and harmonica player Paul Jones (from Manfred Mann), and pianist Ben Palmer, a friend of Clapton's who would become a Cream roadie. Recording under the name The Powerhouse, the group recorded four tracks in the studio, three of which were used on What's Shakin' (the fourth, a slow blues, has since gone missing). One of those tracks, a cover of Memphis Slim's Steppin' Out, was an instrumental, and thus did not include Winwood. It does, however, feature some outstanding guitar work by a very young Eric Clapton.

Artist:      Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Streetmasse
Source:      LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Kantner/Dryden/Blackman/Thompson/Balin
Label:     RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:     1967
     Of all the Jefferson Airplane albums, 1967's After Bathing At Baxter's is generally considered the most pyschedelic . For one thing, the members were reportedly all on LSD through most of the creative process and were involved in entire package, right down to the decision to divide the album up into five suites and press the vinyl in such a way that the spaces in the vinyl normally found between songs were only present between the suites themselves, making it almost impossible to set the needle down at the beginning of the second or third song of a suite (there is a slight overlap between most of the songs as well). The first suite on After Bathing At Baxter's is called Streetmasse. It consists of three compositions: Paul Kantner's The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel; A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly (a free-form jazz piece led by drummer Spencer Dryden); and the Paul Kantner/Marty Balin composition Young Girl Sunday Blues.
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Somebody To Love
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Darby Slick
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    Over 40 years after the fact, it's hard to imagine just how big an impact Jefferson Airplane's fifth single had on the garage band scene. Whereas before Somebody To Love came out you could just dismiss hard-to-cover songs as being not worth learning, here was a tune that was undeniably cool, and yet virtually impossible for anyone but the Airplane to play well (and even they were unable to get it to sound quite the same when they performed it live). The mono single mix of the song heard here has noticeably less reverb than the more familiar stereo album version.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon
Source:    CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    The first Jefferson Airplane album (the 1966 release Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) was dominated by songs from the pen of founder Marty Balin, a few of which were collaborations with other band members such as Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen. The songwriting on the group's second LP, Surrealistic Pillow, was fairly evenly balanced between the three above and new arrival Grace Slick. By the band's third album, After Bathing At Baxter's, released in the fall of 1967, Kantner had emerged as the group's main songwriter, having a hand in over half the tracks on the LP. One of the most durable of these was the album's closing track, a medley of two songs, Won't You Try and Saturday Afternoon, the latter being about a free concert that the band had participated in at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park earlier that year.
Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Look (Song For The Children)/Child Is Father To The Man
Source:    LP: The Smile Sessions
Writer(s):    Wilson/Parks
Label:    Capitol
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2011
    In 2004 Brian Wilson released Smile, the culmination of a project that went back nearly 40 years. Smile had begun as the projected follow up to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, with recording for the new album beginning in 1966. Due to a number of reasons the project was suspended in 1967, and a much less ambitious LP called Smiley Smile appeared in its place. For the rest of the 20th century Smile was little more than a legend, surrounded by rumours concerning the disposition of the material that had been recorded before the project was dropped. In the early 1990s some of the tapes resurfaced and were issued as part of the Beach Boys 30th anniversary box set. Still, these were only fragments, without any real sense of how they were meant to be presented on the original album. Finally, with the release of Brian Wilson's all new recordings of much of the same material, there was a template that could be used as a guideline for assembling the original album. Some elements, such as Carl Wilson's backing vocals on tracks like Child Is Father To The Man were actually recorded after the project itself was cancelled and used on later Beach Boys albums. Nonetheless, The Smile Sessions, a double LP released in 2011, is probably the closest thing we'll ever hear to the original Smile album.

Artist:    Salvation
Title:    Think Twice
Source:    German import CD: Salvation
Writer(s):    Joe Tate
Label:    Head (original US label: ABC)
Year:    1968
    If there is any one band that typifies the San Francisco music scene of 1968 it would have to be Salvation. Originally from Seattle and known as the Salvation Army Banned, the group came to the attention of ABC Records after a series of successful gigs at Golden Gate Park. The band was often seen cruising the streets of San Francisco in a converted bus and often found themselves sharing the playbill with acts like Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane and the Doors. After recording their debut LP, Salvation, the group did a coast to coast promotional tour "from the Golden Gate to the Village Gate", only to find themselves stranded on the east coast when their management team absconded with the band's advance money. The band's fate was sealed when they, to quote keyboardist Art Resnick, "acted so incredibly wild at the main offices of ABC In in NYC when going there to meet all the top execs. It was totally insane! Wilder than any rock movie I've ever seen."

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.T.Tatman III
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence, even after relocating to the Laurel Canyon area near Los Angeles in 1968. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of that single was another track from Living The Blues that actually had a longer running time on the single than on the album version. Although the single uses the same basic recording of Boogie Music as the album, it includes a short low-fidelity instrumental tacked onto the end of the song that sounds suspiciously like a 1920s recording of someone playing a melody similar to Going Up The Country on a fiddle. The only time this unique version of the song appeared in stereo was on a 1969 United Artists compilation called Progressive Heavies that also featured tracks from Johnny Winter, Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and others.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album with the 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. Sadly, 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:    Ten Years After
Title:    Faro
Source:    CD: Stonedhenge
Writer(s):    Leo Lyons
Label:    Deram/Polygram
Year:    1969
    Ten Years After's fourth LP, Stonedhenge, features six tracks by the entire band alternating with one solo track each from the band's four members. Bassist Leo Lyons's piece is called Faro (presumably a corruption of "far out"), and consists of a melody played on a string bass backed by single notes plucked on an electric bass. There is also foot tapping throughout the entire minute-long piece, and a surprise ending which you'll just have to experience for yourself.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    As Kind As Summer
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The first time I heard As Kind As Summer from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil I jumped up to see what was wrong with my turntable. A real gotcha moment.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The End
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Prior to recording their first album the Doors' honed their craft at various Sunset Strip clubs, working up live versions of the songs they would soon record, including their show-stopper, The End. Originally written as a breakup song by singer/lyricist Jim Morrison, The End runs nearly twelve minutes and includes a toned-down version of the controversial spoken "Oedipus section" that got them fired from their gig as house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. My own take on the famous "blue bus" line, incidently, is that Morrison, being a military brat, was probably familiar with the blue shuttle buses used on military bases overseas for a variety of purposes, including taking kids to school, and simply incorporated his experiences with them into his lyrics.  The End got its greatest exposure in 1979, when Oliver Stone used it in his film Apocalypse Now.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2149 (starts 11/29/21)

    This week in rock has a little soul mixed in, courtesy Curtis Mayfield and (to a lesser degree) Rare Earth. It starts with Johnny Winter's original version of a song that would later become a hit for second guitarist Rick Derringer, followed by a short journey from 1967 to 1971. From there we go to 1972 for a handful of tunes before finishing things out with the Carl Wilson version of the Beach Boys, circa 1971.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Johnny Winter And)
Writer(s):    Rick Derringer
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    Athough best known as a solo Rick Derringer hit, Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo was originally recorded in 1970 by Johnny Winter for the album Johnny Winter And when Derringer was a member of Winter's band (also known as Johnny Winter And at that time). As can be heard here the arrangement on the earlier version is nearly identical to the hit version, the main differences being Winter's lead vocals and the presence of two lead guitarists in the band.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Can You See Me
Source:     CD: Live At Monterey (originally released on LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival)
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     UMe (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former member of the US Army and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970. Among the songs the Experience performed at Monterey was a Hendrix composition called Can You See Me. The song had appeared on the band's first LP in the UK, but had been left off the US version of Are You Experienced. An early concert favorite, Can You See Me seems to have been permanently dropped from the band's setlist after the Monterey performance.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Salt of the Earth
Source:     LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     London
Year:     1968
     After scathing critical reviews and disappointing sales for their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a few months off to regroup. They returned to the studio with a new producer (Jimmy Miller, who had previously worked with Steve Winwood) and a back-to-basics approach that resulted in a new single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, followed by the release of the Beggar's Banquet album. The closing track of that album was Salt of the Earth, a song that started off sounding like a drinking song (thanks in large part to Keith Richards singing the opening lines), and gradually building up to a gospel-inflected fadeout, with guest keyboardist Nicky Hopkin's piano featured prominently.

Artist:      Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Mr. Limousine Driver
Source:      CD: Grand Funk
Writer:    Mark Farner
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1969
     When Grand Funk Railroad first appeared on the scene they were universally panned by the rock press (much as Kiss would be a few years later). Despite this, they managed to set attendance records across the nation and were instrumental to establishing sports arenas as the venue of choice for 70s rock bands. Although their first album, On Time, was not an instant hit, their popularity took off with the release of their second LP, Grand Funk (also known as the Red Album). One of the many popular tracks on Grand Funk was Mr. Limousine Driver, a song that reflects the same attitude as their later hit We're An American Band.

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    The Animal Trainer And The Toad
Source:    LP: Nantucket Sleighride
Writer(s):    West/Palmer
Label:    Windfall/Bell
Year:    1971
    Mountain hit their commercial and creative peak with the 1971 album Nantucket Sleighride. The album is full of outstanding tracks, including the side two opener, The Animal Trainer And The Toad, a tongue-in-cheek retelling of the band's origins.

Artist:    Rare Earth
Title:    (I Know I'm) Losing You
Source:    LP: Ecology
Writer:    Grant/Holland/Whitfield
Label:    Rare Earth
Year:    1970
    Although Rare Earth was not the first white act to record for Motown, it was the first successful one. When the band was signed in 1969 it was decided to retool (and rename) one of Motown's existing labels and put Rare Earth on that label. During discussions about what to rename the label one of the band members joking suggested Rare Earth Records. Oddly enough, Motown went with that suggestion, and the band soon scored two consecutive top 10 singles with remakes of previous Motown hits. The first, Get Ready, used virtually the same arrangement as the Temptations original and actually did better on the charts. The follow-up, (I Know I'm) Losing You, was more adventurous, and showed that the group was more than just one hit wonders. The LP version of the song shows Rare Earth at its creative peak.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    Pusherman
Source:    CD: Super Fly
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Rhino (original label: Curtom)
Year:    1972
    Curtis Mayfield's soundtrack album for the 1972 film Super Fly is considered one of the landmark achievements of 1970s music. For one thing, it is one of the few soundtrack albums to end up making more money than the film itself. More importantly, Super Fly, along with Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, was one of the first R&B concept albums, with its harsh condemnation of the inner city drug dealing trade paired with a call for self-liberation, and is considered one of the pioneering works of the funk revolution. Pusherman, with its emphasis on heavy bass and African rhythms, is one the album's standout tracks.
Artist:    Little Feat
Title:    Easy To Slip
Source:    CD: Sailin' Shoes
Writer(s):    George/Martin
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Little Feat's second album, Sailin' Shoes, was an album of firsts. It was the first Feat album to feature cover art by Neon Park. It was also the first album to show an obvious New Orleans influence. Finally, it was the first album to feature the songwriting team of Lowell George and Martin Kibbee (using the name Fred Martin), on songs like Easy To Slip, which opened the first side of the LP. Sailin' Shoes was also the last album to feature original bassist Roy Estrada, who had accompanied George after the latter had been fired from Frank Zappa's band, the Mothers, over the overt drug references in the song Willin' (which also appears on Sailin' Shoes).

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smoke On The Water (original studio version)
Source:    LP: Machine Head
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972
    Based on what is quite possibly the most recognizable riff in the history of rock, Smoke On The Water was released in March of 1972 on Deep Purple's Machine Head album. The song became a huge hit after a live version of the tune appeared on the December 1972 album Made In Japan. For the US single release, Warner Brothers chose to pair up edited versions of both the live and studio renditions of the tune on either side of a 45 RPM record in May of 1973. Meanwhile, many FM rock stations continued to play the original studio version of Smoke On The Water from Machine Head heard here.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Watcher Of The Skies
Source:    CD: Foxtrot
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1972
    The opening song for most of Genesis's live performances throughout the mid-1970s was also the opening track of their 1972 album Foxtrot. Watcher Of The Skies was inspired by the works of science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End) and legendary comic book writer Stan Lee (the Tales Of The Watcher series), although the title itself reportedly was taken from an 1817 poem by John Keats. The two alternating chords at the beginning of the piece were actually the result of the limitations of a Mellotron MKII (a keyboard instrument that utilized tape loops of string orchestras) that keyboardist Tony Banks had just bought from King Crimson. According to Banks "There were these two chords that sounded really good on that instrument. There are some chords you can't play on that instrument because they'd be so out of tune. These chords created an incredible atmosphere. That's why it's just an incredible intro number. It never sounded so good on the later Mellotron."

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Feel Flows
Source:    LP: Surf's Up
Writer(s):    Wilson/Riely
Label:    Brother/Reprise
Year:    1971
    The 1970 album Sunflower was the worst-selling album in Beach Boys history. To rectify their falling popularity the group brought in a new manager, Jack Riely, aka KPFK DJ John Frank. Riely immediately set about making changes, including the appointment of Carl Wilson as the band's official leader and the abandonment of the group's long-standing practice of dressing alike on stage. He also worked with the band creatively, encouraging them to write more relevant songs and even doing some songwriting of his own on tracks like Feel Flows, which was co-written by Carl Wilson. Although Surf's Up has gotten mixed reviews over the years, Feel Flows is often singled out as a highlight of the album.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2148 (starts 11/22/21)

    Recently I experienced a touch of insomnia and decided to put it to good use by recording this week's show in the middle of the night. It starts, of course, with the Lovin' Spoonful and, being Thanksgiving week and all, ends with a real turkey of a song.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Night Owl Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Butler/Boone/Yanovsky/Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra/Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2011
    Night Owl Blues was first released on the Lovin Spoonful's first album, Do You Believe In Magic, making an encore appearance as the B side of their 1966 hit Daydream. The original recording was edited down to less than three minutes on both releases. In 2011 Sundazed issued a previously unreleased recording of the Spoonful's high energy cover of the Hollywood Argyles hit Alley Oop on 45 RPM vinyl, backed with a longer, less edited version of Night Owl Blues made from the same original 1965 recording as the earlier release. The track features some nice blues harp from John Sebastian and a rare electric guitar solo from Zal Yanovsky.

Artist:     Butterfield Blues Band
Title:     Walkin' Blues
Source:     CD: East-West
Writer:     Robert Johnson
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1966
     Unlike The Blues Project, which mixed original material with improvisational arrangements of blues classics, the Butterfield Blues Band took pride in presenting an authentic Chicago blues sound. The opening track for their most famous album, East-West, was Robert Johnson's Walkin' Blues.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    The Wind Blows Your Hair
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Bigelow
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1967
    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:    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:    Ten Years After
Title:    Going To Try
Source:    CD: Stonedhenge
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1969
    Although Ten Years After is known mostly for straight ahead blues rock and roll numbers like I'm Going Home, Alvin Lee and company did have a more experimental side, as evidenced by their third LP, Stonedhenge. The album consists of a half dozen tracks written by Lee and performed by the entire band interspersed with solo tracks from each of the four band members. The opening track, Going To Try, is possibly the most psychedelic song in the TYA catalog, being basically a series of variations on a common theme in different time and key signatures.  

Artist:    Kaleidoscope (US)
Title:    Another Lover
Source:    British import CD: Pulsating Dreams (originally released in US on LP: Bernice)
Writer(s):    David Lindley
Label:    Floating World (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1970
    The American band known as Kaleidoscope was not really a rock band. If you had to define them, you might go with terms like "roots" or even "world" music, but not rock. While still in high school, Kaleidoscope's multi-instrumentalist founder David Lindley formed his first band, the Mad Mountain Ramblers in Pasadena, California, where he met Chris Darrow, Kaleidoscope's co-founder. At age 20 (more or less) the two, who had been in rival bands, formed a new group the Dry City Scat Band, but Darrow soon left to form his own rock band. The two, along with multi-instrumentalists Solomon Feldthouse and Chester Crill (aka all sorts of odd names such as Fenrus Epp and Max Budda) along with drummer John Vidican formed Kaleidoscope in 1966. By the time they had released their fourth and final album Bernice, in 1970, with only Feldthouse, Crill (now calling himself both Connie Crill and Max Buda, depending on which instrument he was playing at the time) and Lindley, who wrote Another Lover, left from the original lineup. After contributing two new songs to the film Zabriskie Point Kaleidoscope officially disbanded.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Tend My Garden/Garden Gate
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer:    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    Cleveland, Ohio's James Gang spent so much time on the road promoting their first album, Takes Off, that they didn't have much material ready when it came time to record a follow-up LP. The group found itself actually writing songs in the studio and recording them practically as they were being written. Guitarist/lead vocalist Joe Walsh, meanwhile, had some acoustic songs he had been working on, and it was decided that the new album would have one side of electric hard rock songs while the other would be an acoustic side. The opening tracks for the second side of the album were Tend My Garden, which features Walsh on both organ and guitar, followed by Garden Gate, a Walsh solo piece.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Baby Don't Scold Me
Source:    Mono CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco/Elektra
Year:    1966
    When For What It's Worth became a big hit single in early 1967, Atco recalled all unsold copies of the first Buffalo Springfield album and re-released the LP with a new track order that included For What It's Worth. Of course, that meant that one of the original songs on the album had to be cut, and for years it has been somewhere between difficult and impossible to find the song that was cut, a Stephen Stills composition called Baby Don't Scold Me. Now the album has been reissued on compact disc with both the original track order (in monoraul) and the revised listing (in stereo). As a result Baby Don't Scold Me is only available in mono, but probably sounds better than way anyway.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    The Hour Of Not Quite Rain
Source:    LP: Last Time Around
Writer(s):    Furay/Callen
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    In August of 1967, Los Angeles radio station ("Boss Radio") ran a contest in which listeners submitted original poems, with the winner being set to music by Buffalo Springfield. At the same time, a similar contest was being run in San Francisco by KFRC, with the winning entry appearing on Moby Grape's Grape Jam album. Unlike the Moby Grape piece, which is basically set against a "Musique concrète" background, The Hour Of Not Quite Rain, submitted by Micki Callen, is a lavishly produced piece with lots of orchestral backing and vocals by Richie Furay. By the time the song was released, on the album, Last Time Around, was released the band existed in name only, with all of the members having moved on to other things.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    By mid-1966 Hollywood's Sunset Strip was being taken over every night by local teenagers, with several underage clubs featuring live music being a major attraction. Many of the businesses in the area, citing traffic problems and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, began to put pressure on city officials to do something about the situation. The city responded by passing new loitering ordinances and imposing a 10PM curfew on the Strip. They also began putting pressure on the clubs, including condemning the popular Pandora's Box for demolition. On November 12, 1966 fliers appeared on the streets inviting people to a demonstration that evening to protest the closing of the club. The demostration continued over a period of days, exascerbated by the city's decision to revoke the permits of a dozen other clubs on the Strip, forcing them to bar anyone under the age of 21 from entering. Stephen Stills, a member of Buffalo Springfield, one of the many bands appearing regularly in these clubs, wrote a new song in response to the situation, and the band quickly booked studio time, recording the still-unnamed track on December 5th. The band had recently released their debut LP, but sales of the album were lackluster due to the lack of a hit single. Stills reportedly presented the new recording to label head Ahmet Ertegun with the words "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Ertegun, sensing that he had a hit on his hands, got the song rush-released two days before Christmas, 1966, using For What It's Worth as the official song title, but sub-titling it Stop, Hey What's That Sound on the label as well. As predicted, For What It's Worth was an instant hit in the L.A. market, and soon went national, where it was taken by most record buyers to be about the general sense of unrest being felt across the nation over issues like racial equality and the Vietnam War (and oddly enough, by some people these days as being about the Kent State massacre, even though that happened nearly three years after the song was released). As the single moved up the charts, eventually peaking at #7, Atco recalled the Buffalo Springfield LP, reissuing it with a modified song selection that included For What It's Worth as the album's opening track. Needless to say, album sales picked up after that. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen a vinyl copy of the Buffalo Springfield album without For What It's Worth on it, although I'm sure some of those early pressings must still exist.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Pentangling
Source:    LP: Superecord Contemporary (originally released on LP: Pentangle)
Writer(s):    Cos/Jansch/McShea/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Once in a while an album comes along that is so consistently good that it's impossible to single out one specific track for airplay. Such is the case with the debut Pentangle album from 1968. The group, consisting of guitarists John Renbourne and Bert Jansch, vocalist Jacqui McShea, bassist Terry Cox, and drummer Danny Thompson, had more talent than nearly any band in history from any genre, yet never succumbed to the clash of egos that characterize most supergroups. That talent is abundantly evident on Pentangling.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Love Story
Source:    CD: This Was (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968 (UK), 1969 (US)
    Love Story was the last studio recording by the original Jethro Tull lineup of Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornish. The song was released as a single (Jethro Tull's first in the US) following the band's debut LP, This Was. Shortly after its release Abrahams left the group, citing differences with Anderson over the band's musical direction. Love Story spent eight weeks on the UK singles chart, reaching the #29 spot. In the U.S., Love Story was released in March 1969, with A Song for Jeffrey (an album track from This Was) on the B-side, but did not chart. Like most songs released as singles in the UK, Love Story did not appear on an album until several years later; in this case on the 1973 anthology album Living In The Past. It has most recently been included as a bonus track on the expanded CD version of This Was.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Roll With It
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Children Of The Future)
Writer:    Steve Miller
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Right from the beginning, the Steve Miller band stood out stylistically from other San Francisco area bands. This was in part because Miller was only recently arrived from Chicago (by way of Texas), which had a music tradition of its own. But a lot of the credit has to go to Miller himself, who had the sense to give his bandmates (such as his college buddy Boz Scaggs) the freedom to provide songs for the band in addition to his own material. One example of the latter is Roll With It from the group's 1968 debut LP, Children Of The Future.

Artist:    Brass Buttons
Title:    Hell Will Take Care Of Her
Source:    Mono CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jay Copozzi
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1968
    Rochester, New York, was home to both guitarist Gene Cornish and a band called the Brass Buttons. Cornish, who had been born in Ottawa, Canada, left Rochester for New York City in the early 1960s, eventually co-founding the most successful blue-eyed soul band in history, the (Young) Rascals. By 1968 the Rascals had formed their own production company, Peace, and Cornish invited his friends from the Brass Buttons to record a pair of songs for Peace. The recordings, including a scathing breakup song called Hell Will Take Care Of Her, were released on Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary in 1968.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    No Time
Source:    CD: Headquarters
Writer(s):    Hank Cicalo
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    No Time is basically a Little Richard styled rock 'n' roll studio jam by the Monkees, with Micky Dolenz improvising on the lyrics. The band, who played their own instruments on the recording, decided to credit the song to recording engineer Hank Cicalo, in appreciation for the hard work he was putting in as de facto producer of their Headquarters album. This actually got Cicalo in trouble with the brass at RCA, who had strict rules about engineers soliciting songs to be recorded. On the other hand, the royalties from the song helped him buy a house.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Prelude-Nothing To Hide
Source:    LP: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    Spirit's first few albums had generated good reviews but poor sales. Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus was considered at the time to be their last chance to reach a larger audience. The pseudo-polygamous lyrics of the album's opening track, Prelude-Nothing To Hide, are actually about the band members' commitment to their music, a commitment that is apparent throughout the album. Unfortunately even that level of commitment did not translate to commercial success, leading vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes to split from Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne soon thereafter.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Fresh Garbage
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a fairly hard rocker and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.

Artist:     Spirit
Title:     Mr. Skin
Source:     LP: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic
Year:     1970
     Mr. Skin, a song originally released on the 1970 album The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, shows just how far Spirit had moved away from the jazz influences heard on their first LP in the space of only a couple of years.

Artist:    Impressions
Title:    Check Out Your Mind
Source:    CD: Curtis Mayfield And The Impressions: The Anthology 1961-1977 (originally released on LP: Check Out Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    MCA (original label: Curtom)
Year:    1970
    The Impressions scored their first hit single in 1958 with a song called For Your Precious Love. Not long after that lead vocalist Jerry Butler left the group for a solo career, and the Impressions faded off into obscurity. That would have been the end of the story if not for the efforts of 19-year-old Curtis Mayfield, who gathered the group together in 1961 to record their first single for the ABC Paramount label, a tune called Gypsy Woman. The song was a success, prompting several more singles for the label. By 1963 the group was pared down to the trio of Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash. The group's style was truly established in August of that year with the song It's All Right, which went all the way to the top of the soul charts. An even bigger hit came the following year with the release of Amen, from the album Keep On Pushin'. The Impressions continued to be a presence on the R&B charts for the remainder of the decade, even after switching over to Mayfield's own Curtom label in 1968. The final Impressions album with Mayfield was Check Out Your Mind, released in 1970. By then Mayfield's songwriting had become highly topical, with virtually every song containing some sort of message. This trend continued after Mayfield left the Impressions for his solo career, notably on the soundtrack of the film Superfly. In August of 1990 a tragic stage accident left Mayfield permanently paralyzed from the neck down, ending his career as a performer.

Artist:    Joe Cocker
Title:    Delta Lady
Source:    LP: Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Writer(s):    Leon Russell
Label:    A&M
Year:    1970
    In the summer of 1971 virtually all the freaks in Mangum, Oklahoma (including the entire membership of the band Sunn) went to the local drive-in theater (our light show guy and I got in by riding in the trunk of our road manager's car) to see the film Mad Dogs & Englishmen. All of us, including the guy running the projection booth (who was also our assistant light show guy) were tripping our brains out by the time the film began. By then we had plugged in our own PA system, put a microphone next to one of the little speakers that you hang on your car window, and cranked it up to full volume, quickly running off the handful of cars who were not part of our group of crazies. Once we had the entire drive-in to ourselves, we proceded to dance, yell and sing along to songs like Delta Lady in a display of reckless abandon that would have made Ken Kesey proud. That August night in Oklahoma is the first thing I think of whenever I hear the live version of Delta Lady.
Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Green-Eyed Lady
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1970 (originally released on LP: Sugarloaf and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Phillips/Riordan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1970
    The unwritten rules of radio, particularly those concerning song length, were in transition in 1970. Take Sugarloaf's Green-Eyed Lady, for example. When first released as a single the 45 was virtually identical to the album version except that it faded out just short of the six-minute mark. This was about twice the allowed length under the old rules and it was soon replaced with an edited version that left out all the instrumental solos, coming in at just under three minutes. The label soon realized, however, that part of the original song's appeal (as heard on FM rock radio) was its organ solo, and a third single edit with that solo restored became the final, and most popular, version of Green-Eyed Lady. The song went into the top 5 nationally (#1 on some charts) and ended up being the band's biggest hit.

Artist:      Bob Dylan
Title:     It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry
Source:      CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1965
     East of Albuquerque, NM, there is a trail that is about three miles long. At the end of that trail you at Sandia Crest, which overlooks the city from about a mile above. Continuing eastward, after a short plateau you enter the eastern foothills, traveling many miles up and down hills, each one just a little lower than the one before it. Bob Dylan's career is like that: an incredibly fast rise to an unbelievable height, and then a slow downhill descent from there. The Highway 61 Revisited album is his Sandia Peak.

Artist:    Bob Dylan with The Band
Title:    Tiny Montgomery
Source:    LP: The Basement Tapes
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1975
    In July of 1966, Bob Dylan crashed his motorcycle near his home in Woodstock, NY. As a result, he had to cancel his upcoming concert schedule and instead began to focus more on his songwriting. Meanwhile his backup band, the Hawks, ended up moving to West Saugerties, a town a few miles from Woodstock, occupying a house they nicknamed "Big Pink". Once Dylan felt up to playing and singing again he invited the members of the band over to his place for some informal sessions, mostly performing covers of old folk songs. In early 1967 they set up a makeshift studio at Big Pink, using borrowed tape recorder, mixers and microphones, and began recording some of Dylan's new tunes. The first of these to be recorded was Tiny Montgomery, a song that contains such nonsensical lyrics as "Scratch your dad/Do that bird/Suck that pig/And bring it on home". I couldn't have said it better myself.
Artist:      Bob Dylan
Title:     Desolation Row
Source:      CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1965
    The last track on Bob Dylan's groundbreaking 1965 LP, Highway 61 Revisited, is also the only non-electric track on the album. With a running time of over eleven minutes, it is also the longest song on the album, and contains some of the bleakest imagery. If you're in the right frame of mind, Desolation Row is a fascinating journey to some pretty dark places. If not, you probably won't be able to listen to the entire piece in one sitting.

Artist:    Joan Baez
Title:    Daddy You Been On My Mind
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1965
    Although I had heard songs like Where Have All The Flowers Gone and Blowin' In The Wind on the radio and around campfires, I did not actually own a folk record until early 1966, when I picked up a brown paper "grab bag" of four singles at a discount price at the Post Exchange at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. Among the records in the bag was a single by Joan Baez that featured a Phil Ochs song on one side and a Bob Dylan song on the other. Being a twelve-year-old kid, I had never heard of Baez or Ochs, although the name Bob Dylan was vaguely familiar to me. Still, I was intrigued by this new kind of music, that was a bit similar to songs I had heard on the radio like Where Have All The Flowers Gone, but yet had a kind of exotic strangeness that set it apart. I still have that record, although my old record player pretty much ruined it, but have since found a copy in marginally better condition to share with you. Enjoy!

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    I Am A Rock
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The success of I Am A Rock, when released as a single in 1966, showed that the first Simon And Garfunkel hit, The Sound Of Silence, was no fluke. The two songs served as bookends to a very successful LP, Sounds Of Silence, and would lead to several more hit records before the two singers went their separate ways in 1970. This was actually the second time I Am A Rock had been issued as a single. An earlier version, from the Paul Simon Songbook, had been released in 1965. Both the single and the LP were only available for a short time and only in the UK, and were deleted at Simon's request.

Artist:    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Title:    I'll Search The Sky
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Ricochet)
Writer(s):    David Hanna
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1967
            The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released two albums in 1967, about four to five months apart. Part of the reason for this may have been that their label, Liberty Records, was finding it difficult to get any of their releases to show up on the Billboard album charts; in fact, the first Dirt Band album was one of only two LPs on the label to accomplish that feat that year. The second LP by the group, Ricochet, was not able to duplicate the success of the first one, however, despite fine tracks like I'll Search The Sky and the band was in danger of fading off into obscurity by the end of the year. The group persisted, however, switching over to the United Artists label when it bought Liberty in the early 1970s, and eventually hit it big with their version of Jerry Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles. The band continued to gravitate toward country music over the next decade, eventually emerging as one of the top country acts of the 1980s.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Crosstown Traffic
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The last of these was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several anthologies over the years.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Dark Are The Shadows
Source:    Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In For Them (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Burnick/Monda
Label:    Rev-Ola (original US label: Tower)
Year:    1969
    Even though it was 1969, and several artists had already proven that you no longer needed a hit single to be a success, there were still some people, including Ray Ruff, who insisted on destroying a band's credibility in an attempt at having a top 40 hit. A good example of this is Dark Are The Shadows, Them's final single for the Tower label. Ruff commissioned one more single from Them (a cover of Charlie Rich's Lonely Weekend for the Happy Tiger label) that is reportedly even worse than this turkey. After that the band split up for good.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2148 (starts 11/22/21)

    This week we pull out the old Time Machine to move upward through the years one step at a time, starting in 1969 and continuing until we reach 1973, at which time we head back down via a different route, finally finishing up with an Al Kooper Blood Sweat & Tears classic that has somehow never been heard on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before this week.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Time Machine
Source:    CD: Heavy Hitters (originally released on LP: On Time)
Writer:    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Universally panned by the rock press, the first Grand Funk Railroad album, On Time, was at best a moderate success when it was first released. Thanks to the band's extensive touring, however, GFR had built up a sizable following by the time their self-titled follow up LP (aka the Red Album) was released in 1970. That year, Grand Funk Railroad became the first rock band to chalk up four gold albums in the same year, with Closer To Home and their double-LP live album joining the first two studio albums on the million seller list. One of the most popular tracks from On Time was Time Machine, which captures the essence of the band's early years.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    déjà vu
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    One of the biggest selling albums in the history of rock music, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young's déjà vu was also one of the most difficult and time-consuming albums ever made. It is estimated that the album, which to date has sold over 8 million copies, took around 800 hours of studio time to record. Most of the tracks were recorded as solo tracks by their respective songwriters, with the other members making whatever contributions were called for. The album also features several guest musicians (including John Sebastian, who plays harmonica on the title track), as well as drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves, whose names appear in slightly smaller font on the front cover of the album.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    L.A. Woman
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1971
    Ray Manzarek became justifiably famous as the keyboard player for the Doors. Before joining up with Jim Morrison, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, however, Manzarek was already making a name for himself as an up-and-coming student filmmaker at UCLA. Although he didn't have much of a need to pursue a career in films once the Doors hit it big, he did end up producing and directing an outstanding video for the title track of the 1971 album L.A. Woman years after the band had split up. I only mention this because, really, what else can I say about a song that you've probably heard a million times or so?

Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    From The Beginning
Source:    CD: Trilogy
Writer(s):    Greg Lake
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1972
    Although his primary function in Emerson, Lake And Palmer was to provide lead vocals and play bass lines supporting Keith Emerson's keyboard work, Greg Lake generally got to include one of his own ballads on each ELP album. Usually Lake played acoustic guitar on these tracks, with synthesizer backup from Emerson and little or no drumwork from Carl Palmer. For the band's third LP, Trilogy, Lake provided From The Beginning, one of most melodic tunes in the group's catalog. The song ended up being the band's highest charting single, peaking at # 39.
Artist:    Stephen Stills-Manassis
Title:    Isn't It About Time
Source:    45 RPM single (promo) (taken from the LP: Down The Road)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    The critics were not kind to the second (and last) Stephen Stills-Manassis album, Down The Road. The consensus seems to be that the album sounds like it was made for making money, as opposed to for artistic reasons. Personally, I don't know, since I've never had a copy of Down The Road (or known anyone with a copy, for that matter). I do, however, remember hearing the album' single, Isn't It About Time, on the radio and thinking it was a decent enough tune (although apparently not decent enough to inspire me to go out and buy the album). Somehow, though, I've managed to acquire a promo copy of the single, although, to be honest, I have no idea where it came from. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.

Artist:    Grace Slick
Title:    Jay
Source:    LP: Manhole
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Grunt
Year:    1973
    There is not, nor has there ever been, a movie named Manhole. That didn't stop Grace Slick from writing a theme for it, however. In fact, she based her entire first solo album on it. The album starts with a song called Jay. Trying to describe it is all but impossible, so I'll just let you sit back and listen to it, mentioning only that virtually every musician that later became a part of Jefferson Starship (the exception being Papa John Creach) appears on the album at some point.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    State Of The Union
Source:    LP: Chicago V
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    It's easy to forget that one of the most successful soft-rock bands in history started off as a much harder-edged group, with a tendency to experiment on their LPs. Chicago, in the early years, often got quite political as well, with most of the "in your face" tunes, such as State Of The Union (which qualifies as both experimental and political), coming from keyboardist/vocalist Robert Lamm.

Artist:    Rare Earth
Title:    Hey Big Brother
Source:    CD: The Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Fekaris/Zesses
Label:    Motown (original label: Rare Earth)
Year:    1971
    Like many successful bands, Rare Earth relied on outside songwriters for their hit singles, although they did have many self-penned tunes on their LPs. At first those hits were covers of Temptations songs such as Get Ready and (I Know) I'm Losing You, but by the early 1970s they had switched to the songwriting team of Dino Fekaris and Nick Zesses, who provided them with their final top 20 hit, Hey Big Brother. It was also the most political of Rare Earth's hit records.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Lady Whiskey
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Powell/Upton
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    In its own way, the first Wishbone Ash album rocks out as hard as any album released in 1970, and is certainly one of the better debut LPs in rock history. The band would actually soften their sound a touch for later albums, but on tunes like Lady Whiskey they showed that they could hold their own in a world that included bands like Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    What Is And What Should Never Be
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Due to contractual obligations, singer Robert Plant did not received any writing credits for songs on the first Led Zeppelin album. By the time the band's second LP was released, Plant had been able to get out of his previous contract, and his name began appearing as co-writer of songs such as What Is And What Should Never Be. The song itself was based on a true story concerning Plant's attraction to his girlfriend's sister.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    I've Been Waiting For You
Source:    LP: The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook (originally released on LP: Neil Young)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Despite being included on the very first Warner Brothers Loss Leaders album, the 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook, I've Been Waiting For You, from Neil Young's self-titled 1968 debut LP, is one of the least-known and underated of all of Young's songs...or at least it was until 2002, when David Bowie (with Dave Grohl on guitar) released his own version of the song as a single and included it on the album Heathen.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title:    I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
Source:    LP: Al's Big Deal (originally released on LP: Child Is Father To The Man)
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Ever since he was a teenager, Al Kooper had wanted to start a rock band that had a horn section. After making his name as a session musician  with Bob Dylan, Kooper joined the Blues Project in 1965 as the band's keyboardist. He left that group in early 1967 and began the slow process of assembling his dream band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, which made its vinyl debut in February of 1968. One of the best remembered songs on the album was I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know. Although not released as a single, the tune became one of the core songs heard on the new FM rock stations popping up across the country in the late 1960s. Kooper himself ended up leaving the band he founded later that same year, moving on to producing and appearing on albums like Super Session and The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, as well as continuing to work as an in-demand studio keyboardist.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2147 (starts 11/15/21)

    This week we feature quite a few one-hit (and in some cases, no hit) wonders in our first hour, including no less than seven songs never heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. We finish out the hour with an entire set of bands hardly anyone has ever heard of. To balance it out, we go to the UK for entire segment of songs recorded in London and follow it up with a set that starts in the Pacific Northwest and ends up back in London. First, though, a song that could have been written about social media...

Artist:    Castaways
Title:    Liar Liar
Source:    LP: KHJ Boss Goldens Volume 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    James Donna
Label:    Original Sound (original label: Soma)
Year:    1965
     The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for slightly less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves in 1965 with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Get Off My Cloud
Source:    CD: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    Early British Invasion bands generally fell into one of two camps. On the one hand there were the relatively clean-cut Merseybeat bands such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, Herman's Hermits and of course the Beatles themselves, who were the overwhelming favorites of teenage girls all across America. Then there were the so-called "bad boy" bands such as Them and the Animals who tended to favor a raunchier interpretation of rock and roll than their Merseybeat counterparts and had more male than female fans. Chief among these were London's Rolling Stones. While the Beatles were still cranking out love songs throughout 1965, the Stones were shouting their defiance at the world with songs like Get Off My Cloud. 

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    I Need Your Love
Source:    British import CD: Before The Dream Faded
Writer(s):    Treadway/Brown
Label:    Cherry Red
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1982
    Before becoming legends on the London music scene, the Misunderstood were a well-named band from Riverside, California, consisting of Greg Treadway (guitar, keyboards), Rick Moe (drums), George Phelps (lead guitar), Rick Brown (lead vocals), and Steve Whiting (bass). Not long after Whiting joined, the band went into the local William Locy studios to record a six-song demo that was preserved on acetate. That demo included three original tunes, one of which was I Need Your Love, a Brown/Treadway collaboration. The Misunderstood, with the help of local disc jockey John Ravenscraft (who would eventually return to his native England and start using the name John Peel), relocated to London in 1966, although they lost half of their songwriting team (Treadway) to the US military in the process. Form there they went on to become a London sensation, but were forced to disband when the government refused to extend their work visas just a few weeks later.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source:    LP: The Byrds' Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Younger Than Yesterday)
Writer(s):    Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    By early 1967 there was a building resentment among musicians and rock press alike concerning the instant (and in many eyes unearned) success of the Monkees. One notable expression of this resentment was the Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star, which takes a somewhat snarky look at what it takes to succeed in the music business. Unfortunately, much of what they talk about in the song continues to apply today (although the guitar has been somewhat supplanted by the computer as the instrument of choice).
Artist:    Lamp Of Childhood
Title:    No More Running Around
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mekler/Hendricks/Tani
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1967
    I've often wondered how it was that a somewhat raunchy rock band like Steppenwolf ended up on the same pop-oriented record label (Dunhill) as the Mamas and the Papas, the Grass Roots and 3 Dog Night. It turns out the Dunhill connection was from the man who produced Steppenwolf, Gabriel Mekler. Mekler was a member of the Lamp Of Childhood, a group that also included Cass Elliot's husband James Hendricks. Although the Lamp had a solid pop sound, they never really caught on and by the time their third and most successful single, No More Running Around, was released, the members had already moved on to other things (like, for instance, producing Steppenwolf records, or in the case of drummer Billy Mundi, joining the Mothers Of Invention).

Artist:    Growing Concern
Title:    Edge Of Time
Source:    British Import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: The Growing Concern)
Writer(s):    Don Passaglia
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    If nothing else, the owner of Chicago-based Mainstream Records, Bob Shad, had a knack for picking up on current trends. One of those was the emergence of rock bands fronted (or co-fronted) by female vocalist. In fact, his most famous signing was San Francisco's Big Brother And The Holding Company, although they didn't achieve national popularity until Columbia bought out their contract in 1968 and released the Cheap Thrills album. Shad made quite a haul on that deal, and used it to scout out more bands, including one from his own backyard called the Growing Concern that was fronted by not one, but two female vocalists (and one male frontman as well). Shad ended up producing the Growing Concern's lone LP in 1968, which included several originals written by keyboardist Don Passaglia, including Edge Of Time, which starts and ends with an unearthly vocal solo from Bonnie MacDonald.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Think About The Times
Source:    CD: Watt
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    The first Ten Years After I ever bought was Stonedhenge, which I picked up because a) I liked the cover, and b) it was the featured album of the month at the BX at Ramstein Air Base, costing a buck and a half instead of the usual $2.50. Not long after that my dad got transferred back to the States, and I somehow missed the release of the next TYA album, Cricklewood Green. A friend of mine had a copy, though, that we spent a lot of time listening to, so when I saw the next TYA album, Watt, on the racks I immediately picked it up. I wore that copy out, and only later learned that the album had gotten mostly negative reviews from the rock press. I think that's when I started to suspect that most rock critics were self-righteous individuals with no talent of their own, because I thought Watt was a good album then and I still think it's a good album. Take a listen to Think About The Times and tell me I'm wrong.

Artist:    Mandrake Paddle Steamer
Title:    Steam
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Martin Briley
Label:    Bam Caruso (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    Mandrake Paddle Steamer was the brainchild of art school students Martin Briley and Brian Engle, who, with producer Robert Finnis, were among the first to take advantage of EMI's new 8-track recording equipment at their Abbey Road studios. The result was Strange Walking Man, a single released in 1969. The B side of that record was an instrumental written by Briley called, appropriately, Steam. The single was the only recording ever released by Mandrake Paddle Steamer, and was re-released (with a really nice looking picture sleeve) by the British Bam Caruso label in June of 1985.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Look For The Sun
Source:    CD: Heavy
Writer(s):    Weis/Ingle/DeLoach
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    The first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, was a curious mix of L.A. club rock (including an R&B cover song) and heavier stuff such as the instrumental Iron Butterfly Theme. The lead vocals one the first side of the LP were all from keyboardist Doug Ingle, backed up by Darryl DeLoach, while the second side lead vocals were all by DeLoach. That made for an entirely different listening experience when flipping the record over. On the other hand, Ingle only wrote (or co-wrote) a couple of the songs he sang lead on, while writing all the music (but not the lyrics) for DeLoach's side of the record, while also providing backup vocals. The one non-instrumental song on the album Ingle did not sing on was Look For The Sun, which instead features backup vocals by original Iron Butterfly bassist Jerry Penrod. Lead guitarist Danny Weis co-wrote the music on Look For The Sun. Ron Bushy, the only original member besides Ingle to continue with the band after Heavy was recorded, played drums on the track.

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)
Year:    1966
    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:    Blues Project
Title:    Endless Sleep
Source:    LP: Planned Obsolescence
Writer(s):    Reynolds/Nance
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1968
    By the end of 1967, the Blues Project no longer existed, although they never officially disbanded. Al Kooper had left the band earlier in the year to take a position as staff producer at Columbia's New York studios, while guitarists Danny Kalb had both left the group after the band's disappointing performance at the Monterey Internation Pop Festival, leaving only drummer Roy Blumenfeld and flautist Andy Kulberg to provide Verve with a contractually-obligated fourth album. To do so they recruited guitarist John Gregory, bassist Don Kretmar and violinist Richard Greene to record the album Planned Obsolescence in 1968. Many of the songs, such as Endless Sleep, sound like they were just thrown together in the studio (and probably were). Not long after Planned Obsolescence came out, the band officially changed its name to Seatrain, although that band's lineup would prove to be as unstable as its predecessor's.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    The Flute Thing
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart College, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.

Artist:    Clear Light
Title:    They Who Have Nothing
Source:    LP: Clear Light
Writer(s):    Bob Seal
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    It's pretty well-known (among Stuck in the Psychedelic Era listeners, at any rate) that the first L.A. rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, followed a few months later by the Doors. But do you know the name of the THIRD band signed to Elektra? Until recently, I had no idea, but then a package arrived from a listener (and record collector) in Bakersfield, California containing a copy of an album called Clear Light. It turns out they were part of the same club scene that included bands like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the two previous Elektra signings. In fact, one of the members of Clear Light, drummer Dallas Greene, had been a member of Lowell George's legendary band, the Factory (he would go on to greater fame playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, among others). The album itself is a rather psychedelic mix of folk, rock, and even classical, and includes three folk-rock tunes, one of which is They Who Have Nothing, that were written by the band's guitarist, Bob Seal. Clear Light's vocalist, Cliff DeYoung, went on to become a successful actor

Artist:    Fenwyck
Title:    Mindrocker
Source:    Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Keith and Linda Colley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:    1967
     Fenwyck was a southern California rock band that found itself in the unenviable position of being forever associated with a vocalist that they actually only worked with for a short amount of time. Formed in 1963 by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Pat Robinson, in Arcadia, San Gabriel Valley, CA, the group was moderately successful playing various clubs in the L.A. suburbs before signing with 4-Star Productions in early 1967, where they were paired with Jerry Raye, a second-tier Conway Twitty wannabe trying to maintain an early 60s teen idol style. The result was an album called The Many Faces Of Jerry Raye with the words "featuring Fenwyck" in smaller text halfway down the right side of the cover. The LP itself was essentially two mini-LPs, with each side having little or nothing to do with the other. Raye's side consisted of a set of nondescript songs from professional songwriters. The first side of the album, however, was all Fenwyck, with all but one of the tracks written by Robinson. The sole exception was Mindrocker, written by the husband and wife team of Keith and Linda Colley, which was released as a single on the Challenge label even before the rest of the album had been recorded. After the album was released on the brand-new Deville label, several singles appeared on Deville credited to Jerry Raye and Fenwyck, including a re-release of Mindrocker with Raye's vocals overdubbed over Robinson's original track. Raye soon moved on to greater obscurity, while Fenwyck itself evolved into Back Pocket, recording a handful of LPs for the Allied label in 1968-69.

Artist:    Executives
Title:    The Ginza Strip
Source:    Mono British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Roy and Tony Carr
Label:    Uncut (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    The Executives were one of the many British beat bands that decided to try their hand at psychedelia in 1967. They had previously been tied closely to the Mod movement however (in fact producer/bandleader Tony Carr had written the 1964 hit March Of The Mods) and, despite the fact that The Ginza Strip is a fine slice of psychedelia, were unable to shed their Mod image enough to gain credibility as a psychedelic band.

Artist:    John's Children
Title:    A Midsummer Night's Scream
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Track)
Year:    1967
    One of the rarest UK singles ever pressed, it is questionable whether A Midsummer Night's Scream by John's Children was even actually released before being withdrawn in the wake of Marc Bolan (who wrote and sang lead vocals on the song) leaving the band. Only 50 copies are rumored to have been pressed, and these are all in the hands of serious record collectors. In fact, it was producer Simon Napier-Bell's over-the-top mix of extra vocals and sound effects on the record that led to Bolan leaving the group in the first place. Nonetheless, A Midsummer Night's Scream is a classic example of British psychedelia.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Fire
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Although never released as a single, Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill/While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    By early 1968 the Beatles were beginning to show signs that they would not be together as a band much longer. The group had just experienced their first commercial & critical failure, the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm (although the soundtrack did quite well). Additionally, each member (except maybe Ringo) was starting to move off in his own direction as a songwriter. Nonetheless they went ahead with plans to form Apple, a company designed to market not only their music, but other products as well. The first album released on the new label was titled simply The Beatles and had a plain white cover, resulting in it soon becoming known as the White Album. It was the Beatles' first double-LP set, and the only one to feature all-new material. Despite being basically a collection of solo tracks from the four members of the band, The Beatles is considered one of the group's best albums, thanks to songs like John Lennon's The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill (inspired by a big-game hunter who was present when the Beatles made their famous trip to India) and While My Guitar Gently Weeps, generally acknowledged as George Harrison's first true classic composition. Of course, the presence of Harrison's close friend Eric Clapton on lead guitar on the tune certainly didn't hurt, either, as Clapton's own band, Cream, was at the peak of its popularity.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1968
    When Paul McCartney wrote the self-referential Silly Love Songs in the mid-1970s, he must have been thinking of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da from the White Album. It really doesn't get much sillier than this.

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:    Yardbirds
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Elias McDaniel
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    It's pretty much a given that the Rolling Stones were the most influential band in the world when it came to inspiring American garage bands. The single song that had the most influence on those bands, however, was probably the Yardbirds high-energy cover of Bo Diddley's I'm A Man, which electrified the US charts in 1965. I spell M....A.....N....Yeah!

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Inside Looking Out
Source:     Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
Writer:     Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1966
     The last Animals single to feature original drummer John Steel, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was adapted from an actual chain gang chant called Rosie, which was included as part of Alan Lomax's Popular Songbook around 1960 or so. Released as a single in early 1966, the song was later included on the LP Animalization. Three years later Grand Funk Railroad recorded an extended version of Inside Looking Out that became a staple of their live show.

Artist:    Sonics
Title:    Strychnine
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Here Are The Sonics)
Writer:    Gerry Roslie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
Year:    1965
    From 1965 we have a band that maintains a cult following to this day: the legendary Sonics, generally considered one of the foundation stones of the Seattle music scene. Although the majority of the songs on their albums were cover tunes, virtually all of their originals are now considered punk classics; indeed, the Sonics are often cited as the first true punk rock band.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    LP: Love Revisited (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: 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:    Mystery Trend
Title:    Johnny Was A Good Boy
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nagle/Cuff
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve)
Year:    1967
    The Mystery Trend was a bit of an anomaly. Contemporaries of bands such as the Great! Society and the Charlatans, the Trend always stood apart from the rest of the crowd, playing to an audience that was both a bit more affluent and a bit more "adult" (they were reportedly the house band at a Sausalito strip club). Although they played in the city itself as early as 1965, they did not release their first record until early 1967. The song, Johnny Was A Good Boy, tells the story of a seemingly normal middle-class kid who turns out to be a monster (without actually specifying what he did), surprising friends, family and neighbors. Despite being an excellent tune, the song's lyrics were way too dark for top 40 radio in 1967, and the record sank like a stone.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Best Of Traffic (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    You Shook Me/Dazed And Confused
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer:    Dixon/Page
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    I've heard it said that Willie Dixon sued Zeppelin over the use of You Shook Me, which is puzzling to me since Dixon is clearly credited as the songwriter on the label. Still, I don't know enough about copyright laws to say for sure whether this could have happened or not. Dazed & Confused, on the other hand, is a Jimmy Page composition that was performed by the Yardbirds (with different lyrics) as early as 1966.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    When I Was A Young Boy
Source:    LP: Raw Sienna
Writer(s):    Chris Youlden
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1970
    Five of the nine songs on Savoy Brown's fifth LP, Raw Sienna, were penned by lead vocalist Chris Youlden, including both the first and last songs on the album. Unfortunately, Youlden then chose to embark on a solo career that went nowhere, leaving When I Was A Young Boy, as the last track on Raw Sienna, as his final contribution to the band he helped popularize. Savoy Brown itself continued on without him, going through a succession of lineups over the years, and in fact still exists, with only bandleader/guitarist Kim Simmonds remaining from the original lineup.