This week we somehow manage to squeeze in 36 tracks (beating our previous record by one), including three artists' sets and four songs never heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. In fact, one of those four "new" ones is from a band we've never played on the show before. We start off with a tune that was last played on the show over ten years ago...
Artist: Joe Cocker
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer: Dave Mason
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2009
I've gone into detail elsewhere about why I generally prefer to use studio tracks over live recordings. Sometimes, though, the studio track is really nothing more than an instance of a live performance. Such is the case with the Joe Cocker version of Feelin' Alright. Like Elvis Presley, Cocker was almost exclusively a performer, leaving such things as writing and producing (and playing an instrument, for that matter) to the actual musicians.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Fortunate Son
Source: LP: More Creedence Gold (originally released on LP: Willy And The Poor Boys)
Writer(s): John Fogerty
John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Nothing Is Easy
Source: CD: Stand Up
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis/Capitol (original US label: Reprise)
Not long after the release of the first Jethro Tull album, guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was a blues enthusiast, left the group due to musical differences with lead vocalist/flautist Ian Anderson, who favored a more eclectic approach to songwriting. Abrahams's replacement was Martin Barre, who remains a member of the group to this day. One of the first songs recorded with Barre is Nothing Is Easy, a blues rocker that opens side two of the band's second LP, Stand Up. More than any other track on Stand Up, Nothing Is Easy sounds like it could have been an outtake from This Was, the band's debut LP.
Artist: Glass Family
Title: Passage # 17
Source: LP: Electric Band
Writer(s): The Glass Family
Label: Maplewood (original label: Warner Brothers)
Despite opening for several big name acts (and having a following of their own), L.A.'s Glass Family didn't release their first LP until 1969. Not that they didn't try; in fact they recorded an entire album in 1967, only to have their label send them back to the studio to come up with something a bit more commercial-sounding. The result was Electric Band, featuring tracks like Passage # 17.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Dark Side
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?
Title: Nobody Spoil My Fun
Source: LP: The Seeds
Writer(s): Sky Saxon
Label: GNP Crescendo
Sky Saxon's Seeds were a popular attraction on the L.A. club scene in 1966. They were also one of the first bands to feature all original material (mostly from Saxon himself) on their albums, such as Nobody Spoil My Fun from their debut LP.
Source: Mono British import CD: The Amazing Charlatans (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Robert Johnson
Label: Big Beat (original label: Kapp)
San Francisco's legendary Charlatans never had a whole lot of luck with recording companies. As free-spirited as later Bay Area bands such as the Grateful Dead and the Airplane, they were constantly running up against an industry that was pretty much set in its ways. Thus, when given an opportunity to make their first record, a single for the Kapp label (a label best known for Roger Williams' middle-of-the-road piano stylings), their first choice, a cover of Buffy Saint-Marie's Codine, was nixed by the shirts in charge. Instead, Kapp chose an off-the-wall cover of a relative minor Coasters hit, The Shadow Knows, as the band's debut single. The B side was a bit more in line with the Charlatans' own tastes, however, being a cover of an old Robert Johnson blues song, 32-20 Blues. Needless to say, the single sunk without a trace, and the Charlatan's would not get the opportunity to make any more records until most of their original members had moved on to other things.
Title: Rub-A-Dub-Dub Troyka In A Tub
Source: LP: Troyka
Depending on whose opinion is being voiced, Edmonton, Alberta's Troyka was either Canada's first psychedelic band, Canada's first prog-rock band, or Canada's first hard-rock power trio. I tend to favor the third option, and submit Rub-A-Dub-Dub Troyka In A Tub, from their 1970 debut (and only) album, as proof.
Artist: Five Americans
Title: I See The Light
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Abnak)
For years I was under the impression that the Five Americans were a Texas band, mainly due to Abnak Records having a Texas address. It turns out, though, that the band was actually from Durant, Oklahoma, although by the time they had their biggest hit, Western Union, they were playing most of their gigs in the Lone Star state, particularly in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. I See The Light is an earlier single built around a repeating Farfisa organ riff that leads into a song that can only be described as in your face.
Artist: Count Five
Title: They're Gonna Get You
Source: Simulated stereo 45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s): John Byrne
Label: Double Shot
It's been said that Count Five's Psychotic Reaction was two and a half minutes of an American garage band sounding more like the Yardbirds than the Yardbirds themselves. The B side, They're Gonna Get You, is that same American garage band sounding more like what they probably sounded like the rest of the time.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Source: CD: Between The Buttons
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones' 1967 album Between The Buttons was made amidst growing problems for the band, both with their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, and guitarist Brian Jones, whose heavy drug use was beginning to take its toll. Exascerbating the problem was the band's increasing frustration with the limitations of four-track technology, which often necessitated bouncing tracks from one machine to another to make room for overdubs, resulting in a loss of overall quality. In fact, Mick Jagger has called the entire album "garbage" (with the exception of one song that was only included on the British version of the LP), due to the poor audio quality of the finished product. Still, some of the songs, like Complicated, are good representations of where the band was musically at the time the album was recorded.
Title: Hello, I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
I have to admit, when I first heard Hello, I Love You I hated it, considering it only a half step away from the bubble gum hits like 1,2,3 Red Light and Chewy Chewy that were dominating the top 40 charts in 1968. It turns out that the song was originally recorded in 1965 as a demo by Rick And The Ravens (basically a Doors predecessor) using the title Hello, I Love You (Won't You Tell Me Your Name). The single pressing of the song is notable for being one of the first rock songs to be released as a stereo 45 RPM record. The song went to the top of the charts in the US and Canada and became the first Doors song to break into the British top 20 as well.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: (Till I) Run With You
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: Kama Sutra
Following the departure of John Sebastian, the Lovin' Spoonful turned to drummer Joe Butler to take over the lead vocals for the band. By late 1968, however, public tastes had changed considerably, and the Spoonful's brand of light folky pop, as heard on songs like (Till I) Run With You, was no longer in vogue. After one final LP, Revelation: Revolution 69, which is notable more for the fact that it features a man and woman running naked through a field on the album cover than for the music contained on the album itself, the band called it quits.
Source: CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Jack Bruce
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Although Cream recorded several songs that bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce co-wrote with various lyricists (notably poet Pete Brown), there were a few that Bruce himself wrote words for. One of these is Dreaming, a song from the band's first LP that features both Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton on lead vocals. Dreaming is also one of the shortest Cream songs on record, clocking in at one second under two minutes in length.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Back In The High Life, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the mid-to-late 1980s. Other than that, nothing.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Sportin' Life
Source: British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union/The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (originall released in US on LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union)
Writer(s): Beacon Street Union
Label: See For Miles (original US label: M-G-M)
Although writing credits on Sportin' Life were given to the entire band, there is evidence that the Beacon Street Union actually got the song from the Lovin' Spoonful. It always sounded to me like an old Hoagy Carmichael song. Anybody have any more info on this one?
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
It may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but Kicks, as recorded by Paul Revere And The Raiders, was the first to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. The song, written by Brill building husband and wife team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation made it all the way to the top five years later.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: There's Always Tomorrow
Source: LP: Midnight Ride
We move now to sunny Los Angeles, circa 1966, where we find a band from Boise, Idaho starring in Dick Clark's daily national dance show, Where The Action Is. Paul Revere and the Raiders were one of the many bands of the early 1960s that helped lay the groundwork for the temporary democratization of American popular music later in the decade (for more on that head over to hermitradio.com). After honing their craft for years in the clubs of the Pacific Northwest the Raiders caught the attention of Clark, who called them the most versatile rock band he had ever seen. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, which in turn led to Paul Revere and the Raiders being the first rock band ever signed to industry giant Columbia Records, at that time the second largest record company in the country. In addition to organist Revere the band featured Mark Lindsay on lead vocals and saxophone, Phil "Fang" Volker on bass, Drake Levin on lead guitar and Mike "Smitty" Smith on drums. Occassional someone other than Lindsay would get the opportunity to sing a lead vocal part, as Smitty does on There's Always Tomorrow, a song he co-wrote with Levin shortly before the guitarist quit to join the National Guard. Seriously, the guy who played the double-tracked lead guitars on Just Like Me quit the hottest band in the US at the peak of their popularity to voluntarily join the military. I'd say there was a good chance he was not one of the guys burning their draft cards that year.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Peace Of Mind
Source: Mono CD: Greatest Hits (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Billy Altman, in his liner notes for the expanded 1999 version of Paul Revere And The Raiders' Greatest Hits CD, refers to Peace Of Mind as "psychedelic-souled". I've never run across that particular term before, so I thought I'd repeat it here. Peace Of Mind was one of the last songs to feature the participation of producer Terry Melcher, who had co-written many of the band's hit songs. With Melcher's departure, vocalist Mark Lindsay took more creative control of the band's direction, bringing in studio musicians for most of their subsequent recordings.
Title: Let Me Be
Source: Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s): P.F. Sloan
Label: White Whale
The Turtles were nothing if not able to redefine themselves when the need arose. Originally a surf band known as the Crossfires, the band quickly adopted an "angry young men" stance with their first single, Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, and the subsequent album of the same name. For the follow-up single the band chose a track from their album, Let Me Be, that, although written by a different writer, had the same general message as It Ain't Me Babe. The band would soon switch over to love songs like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me before taking their whole chameleon bit to its logical extreme with an album called Battle Of The Bands on which each track was meant to sound like it was done by an entirely different group.
Artist: Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title: San Franciscan Nights
Source: British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, the band fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.
Title: See See Rider
Source: LP: Animalization
Writer(s): Ma Rainey
One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals (and the first to use the name Eric Burdon And The Animals on the label), See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: Good Times
Source: Mono British import CD: Winds Of Change
Label: Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
By the end of the original Animals' run they were having greater chart success with their singles in the US than in their native UK. That trend continued with the formation of the "new" Animals in 1967 and their first single, When I Was Young. Shortly after the first LP by the band now known as Eric Burdon And The Animals came out, M-G-M decided to release the song San Franciscan Nights as a single to take advantage of the massive youth migration to the city that summer. Meanwhile the band's British label decided to instead issue Good Times, (an autobiographical song which was released in the US as the B side to San Franciscan Nights) as a single, and the band ended up with one of their biggest UK hits ever. Riding the wave of success of Good Times, San Franciscan Nights eventually did get released in the UK and ended up becoming a hit there as well.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
You Keep Me Hangin' On, a hit for the Supremes in 1967, was the first song recorded by Vanilla Fudge, who laid down the seven-minute plus track in a single take. Producer Shadow Morton then used that recording to secure the band a contract with Atco Records (an Atlantic subsidiary) that same year. Rather than to re-record the song for their debut LP, Morton and the band chose to use the original tape, despite the fact that it was never mixed in stereo. For single release the song was cut down considerably, clocking in at around three minutes.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Matilda Mother
Source: CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s): Syd Barrett
Label: Capitol (original label: Tower)
Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Castles Made Of Sand
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
When I was a junior in high school I used to fall asleep on the living room couch with the headphones on, usually listening to pre-recorded tapes of either the Beatles' Revolver album or one of the first two albums by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. One song in particular from the second Hendrix album, Axis: Bold As Love, always gave me a chill when I heard it: Castles Made Of Sand. The song serves as a warning not to put too much faith in your dreams, and stands in direct contrast to the usual goal-oriented American attitude.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer: Grace Slick
The first time I heard White Rabbit was on Denver's first FM rock station, KLZ-FM. The station branded itself as having a top 100 (as opposed to local ratings leader KIMN's top 60), and prided itself on being the first station in town to play new releases and album tracks. It wasn't long before White Rabbit was officially released as a single, and went on to become a top 10 hit, the last for the Airplane.
Artist: Third Bardo
Title: I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source: Mono British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).
Source: Mono CD: Rubber Soul
Some people think Girl is one of those John Lennon drug songs. I see it as one of those John Lennon observing what's really going on beneath the civilized veneer of western society songs myself. Your choice.
Title: Baby, You're A Rich Man
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Baby, You're A Rich Man was one of the last actual collaborations between John Lennon and Paul McCartney and addresses the Beatles' longtime manager Brian Epstein, although not by name. Lennon came up with the basic question "how does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" (a popular term for the young and hip in late 60s London), which became the basis for the song's verses, which were combined with an existing, but unfinished, Paul McCartney chorus (Baby, You're A Rich Man, too). The finished piece was issued as the B side of the Beatles' second single of 1967, All You Need Is Love, and later remixed in stereo and included on the US-only LP version of Magical Mystery Tour.
Title: Think For Yourself
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s): George Harrison
By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing an average of two songs per Beatles album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.
Title: Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: RCA Victor
The Astronauts were formed in the early 60s in Boulder, Colorado, and were one of the few surf bands to come from a landlocked state. They had a minor hit with an instrumental called Baja during the height of surf's popularity, but were never able to duplicate that success in the US, although they did have considerable success in Japan, even outselling the Beach Boys there. By 1965 they had started to move away from surf music, adding vocals and taking on more of a garage-punk sound. What caught my attention when I first ran across this promo single in a commercial radio station throwaway pile was the song's title. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, written by Tommy Boyce and producer Steve Venet, was featured on the Monkees TV show and was included on their 1966 debut album. This 1965 Astronauts version of the tune has a lot more attitude than the Monkees version. Surprisingly the song didn't hit the US charts, despite being released on the biggest record label in the world (at that time), RCA Victor.
Title: Love's Fatal Way
Source: Mono CD: Present Tense (Sagittarius) (bonus track)
In 1966, having successfully worked with the Association on their debut hit, Along Comes Mary (which he co-wrote), Our Productions staff producer Curt Boettcher started work on his own project, a studio group known as the Ballroom. While working on the Ballroom project, Boettcher reconnected with producer Peter Asher (whom he had met early in 1966), who was starting work on his own studio project, Sagittarius. Asher, a veteran producer and songwriter who had worked with Brian Wilson, Terry Melcher and others and had access to the top studio musicians in Los Angeles (collectively known as the Wrecking Crew), was impressed with Boettcher's talent and enthusiasm. For his part, Boettcher had idolized Asher for years, and the two soon began working together on the Sagittarius project, after Asher negotiated a buyout of Boettcher's contract with Our Productions by Asher's own employer, CBS. Only one single was ever issued by the Ballroom, with several of the remaining Ballroom tracks being reworked and/or included on the Sagittarius album, Present Tense. One Ballroom track that did not make the album was Love's Fatal Way, a ethereal pop number that is now available as a bonus track on the Present Tense CD.
Artist: Mad River
Title: Wind Chimes
Source: Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released as 7" 33 1/3 RPM Extended Play mini-album)
Writer(s): Mad River
Label: Big Beat (original label: Wee)
Unlike most San Francisco Bay Area bands of the mid to late 1960s, Mad River was already a functioning band when they arrived on the scene from their native Ohio in 1967. The group, consisting of Lawrence Hammond (vocals, bass), David Robinson (guitar), Rick Bockner (guitar) and Greg Dewey (drums, vocals), had been formed in 1965 as the Mad River Blues Band in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where all of the members were attending college. By the time they relocated to Berkeley in early 1967 they had developed a unique style of their own. Once in Berkeley, the band quickly established themselves as one of the most "underground" bands in the area, often appearing on the bill with Country Joe And The Fish. In fact, it was the latter band that inspired Mad River to record an EP later that year. Following an unsuccessful audition for Fantasy Records, Mad River cut a three-song EP for the small Wee label. The entire second side of the disc was a six and a half minute long piece called Wind Chimes. The band later recut the track for their first full-length album the following year.
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: One Sure Thing
Source: British import CD: Fairport Convention
The original Fairport Convention in many ways resembles the early Jefferson Airplane; the group, which featured Judy Dyble and Ian MacDonald (later known as Ian Matthews) on vocals, Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol on guitars, Ashley “Tyger” Hutchings on bass and Martin Lamble on drums, blended folk music with rock elements and included several songs in their repertoire that had originally been performed by other artists. One of these cover songs featuring Dyble on vocals is One Sure Thing, which was written by Jim Glover and Harvey Brooks and made famous by the folk duo Jim And Jean in the early 1960s. The Fairport version of One Sure Thing, like most of the band's early material, is far more haunting than the Jim And Jean rendition of the song.
Artist: Idle Race
Title: Hurry Up John
Source: British import CD: Insane times (originally released on LP: Idle Race)
Writer(s): Jeff Lynne
Label: Zonophone (original label: Liberty)
Virtually unknown in the US, the Idle Race released three LPs in the UK before frontman Jeff Lynne departed the group to join up with Roy Wood's band, the Move. Hurry Up John, a 1969 album track from the second Idle Race LP, is a classic sample of Britain's underground music scene.