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.

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