Sunday, December 12, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2151 (starts 12/13/21)

    This week we have sets dedicated to single years, long progressions (and regressions) through the years, and a couple of special tracks for the Holidays. No artists' sets though, as the trend of the week is toward anonymity (even if I can't pronounce "anonymity").

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    From A Buick 6
Source:    45 RPM single B side (promo copy)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Although there were several unissued recordings made during the Highway 61 Revisited sessions, Bob Dylan and his producer, Tom Wilson, chose to instead use one of the already released album tracks as the B side for Positively 4th Street in September of 1965. The chosen track was From A Buick 6, a song that is vintage Dylan through and through.
Artist:     Other Side
Title:     Streetcar
Source:     Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:     Battey/Graham
Label:     Rhino (original label: Brent)
Year:     1966
     Although not as popular as the Chocolate Watchband or Count Five, the Other Side had its share of fans in the San Jose, California area. Enough, in fact, to land a deal with Brent Records. Their single, Walking Down The Road, got some airplay on local radio stations, but it's the B side, Streetcar, that has stood the test of time to become recognized as a classic example of garage rock.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Goin' Down (alternate mix)
Source:    Mono CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD. (original version released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Hilderbrand/Tork/Nesmith/Dolenz/Jones
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    The Monkees released two singles in 1967 that were not included on any albums released that year. The second of these, Daydream Believer, became one of the biggest hits of the year, and was subsequently included on the 1968 LP The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees. The B side of that single was a mostly improvisational number called Goin' Down, with Mickey Dolenz providing the vocals. The longer, alternate mix heard here was later issued as a bonus track on the CD version of Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    South End Incident (I'm Afraid)
Source:    LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union
Writer(s):    Wayne Ulaky
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    The Beacon Street Union's South End Incident (I'm Afraid) was reportedly based on a real incident. According to the story, bassist Wayne Ulaky witnessed a mugging in one of Boston's seedier neighborhoods and spent the rest of that evening looking over his shoulder, worried that the muggers might have seen him. He then wrote a song about it that got recorded by the band and released on their debut LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union.

Artist:    Audience
Title:    Banquet
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Audience)
Writer(s):    Werth/Williams
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1969
    By 1969 the British blues-rock craze was beginning to subside, and many of the musicians that had made up the core of the movement were moving off in different directions. Black Sabbath was going for a heavier sound, while Ian Anderson was finding ways of incorporating traditional English folk music into Jethro Tull's mixture. The members of the Lloyd Alexander Blues Band, like their better known counterparts from the Yardbirds, took an interest in the new progressive rock movement pioneered by bands like Procol Harum, and in 1969 some of those members formed Audience. Led by lead vocalist/acoustic guitarist Howard Werth and bassist/keyboardist Trevor Williams, Audience was unique in that they had no electric guitarist in the band, a direction that would be followed by Emerson, Lake and Palmer a couple of years later. The band also took a page from Traffic's book and included one member, Keith Gemmell, who played only wood instruments such as flute, clarinet and saxophone. The band, completed by drummer Tony Connor, made such an impression that Polydor records offered them a deal shortly after their first major gig. Banquet, from that 1969 debut LP, is a fairly representative example of what the band was all about.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I Feel Free
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, hit singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live by the band.

Artist:    Monks
Title:    Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Choice
Source:    German import CD: Black Monk Time
Writer(s):    Burger/Clark/Day/Johnston/Shaw
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Polydor)
Year:    1966
    One advantage of being an American beat band (they weren't yet calling it "rock") in mid-60s Germany was that, unless you were truly horrible, you pretty much had a guaranteed local audience. In the case of the Monks, four ex-GIs who were anything but horrible, that meant a level of artistic freedom that most other bands wouldn't have until the latter part of the decade. The Monks were, in fact, popular enough to get a contract with the German branch of England's Polydor label, and tight enough to turn out an excellent, if somewhat obscure album called Black Monk Time, as well as a handful of singles. It turned out, however, that the record buying public wouldn't be ready for a band like the Monks playing short and to the point songs like Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Choice until the late 1970s, when punk-rock became all the rage.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Three For Love
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Joe Kelley
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1966
    The Shadows Of Knight moved way out of their garage/punk comfort zone for the song Three For Love, a folk-rock piece laden with harmony vocals. The tune, from the second LP, Back Door Men, is the only Shadows song I know of written by guitarist Joe Kelley. Kelley himself had started out as the band's bass player, but midway through sessions for the band's first LP, Gloria, it became obvious that he was a much better guitarist than Warren Rogers. As a result, the two traded roles, with Kelley handling all the leads on Back Door Men. Kelly, however, did not sing the lead vocals on Three For Love, despite being the song's composer. That task fell to rhythm guitarist Jerry McGeorge, who would later become a member of H.P. Lovecraft. It was his only credit as lead vocalist on the album.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Younger Generation Blues
Source:    LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    Janis Ian recorded her first album, made up entirely of original material, at the age of 15. The album had been commissioned by Atlantic Records, but the shirts at the label changed their mind about releasing it once they had heard some of the more controversial songs Ian had come up with. Unwilling to give up easily, Ian took the tapes to various New York based record labels, finally getting the folks at Verve's Forecast label to take a chance with the single Society's Child. The record got the attention of composer/donductor Leonard Bernstein, who featured it on a highly-rated CBS-TV special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. The exposure led Verve Forecast to release the entire album in early 1967 to overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim. Among the many outstanding tracks on the album is Younger Generation Blues, a tune with a garage-rock beat combined with a poetic recitation worthy of Bob Dylan. The song was also released as a followup single to Society's Child, but failed to equal the success of Ian's debut single. In fact, Janis Ian would not have another major hit until 1975, when At Seventeen became a top five single, remaining on the charts for twenty weeks.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Lazy Me
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Such is the quality of the first Moby Grape LP that there are many outstanding tracks that have gotten virtually no airplay in the years since the album was released. Lazy Me, written by bassist Bob Mosley, is one of those tracks, probably because of its length, a mere one minute and 43 seconds.

Artist:    Left Banke
Title:    Pretty Ballerina
Source:    LP: Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina
Writer(s):    Sommer/Brown/Lookofsky
Label:    Smash/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father was an Important Person at a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: baroque pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death
Source:     CD: A Child's Guide To Good and Evil
Writer:     Markley/Morgan
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1968
     A Child's Guide To Good and Evil is generally considered the best album from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band as well as their most political one. A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death has a kind of creepy humor to it that makes it stand out from the many antiwar songs of the time.
Artist:     Bob Seger System
Title:     Death Row
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Bob Seger
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1968
     I like to play Bob Seger's Death Row, written from the perspective of a convicted murderer waiting to be executed, for fans of the Silver Bullet Band who think that Turn the Page is about as intense as it gets. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled across this rare single at a radio station I used to work for. Even better, the station had no desire to keep the record, since the A side, the equally intense anti-war song 2+2=?, never charted. Their loss.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    On The Road Again
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jones/Wilson
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed by a group of blues record collectors in San Francisco. Although their first album consisted entirely of cover songs, by their 1968 album Boogie With Canned Heat they were starting to compose their own material, albeit in a style that remained consistent with their blues roots. On The Road Again, the band's second and most successful single (peaking at # 16) from that album, is actually an updated version of a 1953 recording by Chicago bluesman Floyd Jones (which was in turn adapted from delta bluesman Tommy Johnson's 1928 recording of a song called Big Road Blues) that guitarist/vocalist Al "Blind Owl" Wilson reworked, adding a tambura drone to give the track a more psychedelic feel. Wilson actually had to retune the sixth hole of his harmonica for his solo on the track. I didn't even know a harmonica could BE retuned!

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lady Madonna
Source:    CD: Past Masters-Volume Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    In spring of 1968, following the completion of the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm (and soundtrack album) the Beatles took off for India, where they studied Transcendental Meditation for several weeks along with several other celebrities. Before leaving, the group laid down tracks for their first single of 1968, a Paul McCartney tune called Lady Madonna. Released on March 15th it was, of course, a huge hit, going to #1 in the UK and #4 in the US. The song's success, however, paled when compared with their next release: Hey Jude, which would turn out to be the #1 song of the entire decade.

Artist:    David Bowie (recording as Davy Jones)
Title:    You've Got A Habit Of Leaving
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):    David Bowie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1965
    David Bowie scored his first major success at the age of 22 with the release of Space Oddity, a song that went all the way into the top 5 on the British charts in 1969 (it would not be a US hit until nearly five years later). Bowie was already a seasoned veteran in the recording studio by the time Space Oddity hit the charts, however. His first single, Liza Jane, had come out in 1964, credited to Davie Jones with The King Bees. After leaving the King Bees he hooked up with the more versatile Manish Boys for another cover tune, I Pity The Fool, released in 1965. His next single, You've Got A Habit Of Leaving, was credited to Davy Jones as both writer and artist, and used the Who-influenced Lower Third as a backup band. This would be the last time Bowie used his birth name, however, as another Davy Jones was already achieving fame playing the Artful Dodger in the stage production of Oliver, and would go on to even greater fame as a member of the Monkees.

Artist:    ? And The Mysterians
Title:    96 Tears
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    The Mysterians
Label:    Abkco (original label: Cameo)
Year:    1966
    Although his birth certificate gives the name Rudy Martinez, the leader of the Mysterians had his name legally changed to "?" several years ago. He asserts that he is actually from the planet Mars and has lived among dinosaurs in a past life. Sometimes I feel like I'm living among dinosaurs in this life, so I guess I can relate a little. The band's only major hit, 96 Tears, has the distinction of being the last top 10 single on the Cameo label before Cameo-Parkway went bankrupt and was bought by Allen Klein, who now operates the company as Abkco.

Artist:     Balloon Farm
Title:     A Question Of Temperature
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Appel/Schnug/Henny
Label:     Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:     1967
     Few, if any, bands managed to successfully cross bubble gum and punk like the Balloon Farm with A Question Of Temperature, originally released on the Laurie label in 1967. Band member Mike Appel went on to greater notoriety as Bruce Springsteen's first manager.

Artist:    Jan And Dean
Title:    Sidewalk Surfin'
Source:    LP: The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
Writer(s):    Wilson/Christian
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1964
    In mid-1964 Jan Berry decided he wanted to write a song about skateboarding, but couldn't come up with one, so he instead turned to his friend Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, for help. Wilson responded by re-writing a song called Catch A Wave, adding new lyrics from Roger Christian and giving it the title Sidewalk Surfin'. The song was released as a single in September of 1964 and included on two LPs: Ride The Wild Surf and The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Another Beatles Christmas Record
Source:    LP: Christmas Album (originally released on flexi-disc)
Writer(s):    Tony Barrow, with plenty of ad-libbing from the Beatles
Label:    Apple (original label: Lyntone)
Year:    1964
    Every year around Christmastime, starting in 1963, the Beatles sent out copies of a flexi-disc to members of their fan club that included a combination of skits, short bits of music and spoken messages. The 1964 edition was mostly made up of the latter, written by publicist Tony Barrow, and was only sent to the British fans of the group (US fans had to settle for an edited version of the 1963 disc). Barrow's script was apparently handwritten, as the Fab Four repeatedly stumbled over words, usually making a joke out of their mistakes. The band would continue to send out similar discs to their fan club through 1969, although the last two were not actually recorded as a group.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Funky New Year
Source:    12" 45 RPM EP promo
Writer(s):    Henley/Frey
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1978
    Yes, the Eagles' version of Please Come Home For Christmas has a B side. Not wanted to do two Christmas songs, Don Henley and Glen Frey composed Funky New Year for the occasion.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Run To The Top
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Out Here)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino (original label: Blue Thumb)
Year:    1969
    Following the release of the single Your Mind And We Belong Together in 1968, Arthur Lee disbanded the original version of Love, reemerging a few months later with a new lineup consisting of Lee, Jay Donnellan on guitar, George Suranovich on drums and Frank Fayad on bass. Lee had been busy writing  songs in the interim, and the group quickly recorded 27 new tunes. Love still owed Elektra an album, and the label was given its pick of ten of the new tracks for the album Love Four Sail. The remaining 17 songs made up the band's first album for the new Blue Thumb label, Out Here. Among those 17 tracks is the carefree-sounding Run To The Top, with lines like "If living is what you're doing, then why don't you be free?". After one more album for Blue Thumb, Lee decided to go solo with the album Vindicator before eventually forming various new versions of Love over the next three decades.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Wintertime Love
Source:    CD: Waiting For The Sun
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    It is generally accepted that most of the songs from the first two Doors albums were already in the band's repertoire when the group signed their first contract with Elektra Records. The third LP, Waiting For The Sun, on the other hand was made up of newer material. As a result, the album has a different overall feel from the earlier efforts. Among the more unusual tracks on the album is Wintertime Love, perhaps the closest the Doors ever got to country rock.

Artist:    Rolling Stones (also released as Bill Wyman)
Title:    In Another Land
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Bill Wyman
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    In Another Land was the first Rolling Stones song written and sung by bassist Bill Wyman, and was even released in the US as a Wyman single. The song originally appeared on the Stones' most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, in late 1967.

Artist:     Blues Project
Title:     Caress Me Baby
Source:     LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kulberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer:     Jimmy Reed
Label:     Verve Forecast
Year:     1966
     After deliberately truncating their extended jams for their first LP, Live At The Cafe Au-Go-Go, the Blues Project recorded a second album that was a much more accurate representation of what the band was all about. Mixed in with the group's original material was this outstanding cover of Jimmy Reed's Caress Me Baby, sung by lead guitarist and Blues Project founder Danny Kalb, running over seven minutes long. Andy Kulberg's memorable walking bass line would be lifted a few year later by Blood, Sweat and Tears bassist Jim Fielder for the track Blues, Part II.

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    Time Won't Let Me
Source:    Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands Vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    King/Kelly
Label:    Era (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    From Cleveland we have another local band signed to a major label, in this case Capitol Records, which at the time was having great success with both the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Lead vocalist Sonny Gerachi would reappear a few years later with the band Climax, singing a song called Precious and Few, which is one of the greatest juxtapositions of artist names and song titles ever.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Sunshine (single version)
Source:    Mono British import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    When I was a junior in high school I switched from guitar to bass to form a three-piece band called Sunn. Mostly what we did was jam onstage, although we did learn a handfull of cover songs as well. One of those songs we actually learned by playing it on the jukebox at the local youth center over and over. A British band called Gun had released a tune called Race With The Devil that caught on quickly with the dependent kids at Ramstein AFB in Germany. None of us, however, actually had a copy of the record. A rival band had already started playing Race With The Devil, so we decided to instead go for the B side, Sunshine. Luckily, the song has few lyrics, and tends to repeat them a lot, so we didn't have to spend a whole lot of nickels to get them all down. Ditto for the musical part, as the song is basically just three chords over and over. Still, it turned out to be one of our most popular numbers, since it was about the only song in our repertoire you could slow dance to. Also, the simple structure allowed Dave, the guitarist, to extend the song as long as he felt like jamming, which was generally all night. So, here we have the mono single version of Sunshine, as heard on the Ramstein youth center jukebox all those years ago.

Artist:     Arlo Guthrie
Title:     Coming Into Los Angeles
Source:     LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Running Down The Road)
Writer:     Arlo Guthrie
Label:     Warner Brothers (original label: Rising Son)
Year:     1969
    Coming Into Los Angeles is one of Arlo Guthrie's most popular songs. It is also the song with the most confusing recording history. The song first came to prominence when Guthrie's live performance of the tune was included in the movie Woodstock. When the soundtrack of the film was released, however, a different recording was used. At first I figured they had simply used the studio version of the song, from the 1969 album Running Down The Road, but it turns out there are significant differences between that version (heard here) and the one included on Woodstock album. Complicating matters is the fact that the version included on The Best Of Arlo Guthrie later in the decade seems to be an altogether different recording than any of the previous releases. If anyone out there (Arlo, are you reading this?) can shed some light on this for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Take It Easy
Source:    Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    In mid-1970 lead vocalist Chris Youlden and the rest of Savoy Brown parted company, leaving Dave Peverett to double up as vocalist and guitarist for the band. The remaining four members (Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens, drummer Roger Earl and guitarist/founder Kim Simmonds) immediately went to work on what would be Savoy Brown's sixth LP. Looking In, when released, ended up being the most successful album in the band's entire run, and the only one to make the British charts (Savoy Brown had always done better with US audiences than in their native UK). Among the many listenable tunes on Looking In is Take It Easy, written by Peverett and Simmonds. Unfortunately, this particular Savoy Brown lineup was not to last, as Simmonds summarily dismissed the rest of the group shortly after Looking In was released, citing musical differences. Simmonds set about putting together a new lineup, while the other three erstwhile members formed their own band, Foghat, a band that would ironically have far more commercial success than Savoy Brown ever achieved.
Artist:    Gong
Title:    Tried So Hard
Source:    British import CD: Camembert Electrique (originally released in France)
Writer(s):    Christian Tritsch
Label:    Charly (original label BYG Actuel)
Year:    1971
    It's almost impossible to describe Gong. They had their roots in British psychedelia, founder Daevid Allen having been a member of Soft Machine, but are also known as pioneers of space-rock. The Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy, from 1973-74, is considered a landmark of the genre, telling the story of such characters as Zero the Hero and the Pot Head Pixies from Planet Gong. The groundwork for the trilogy was actually laid in 1971, when the album Camembert Electrique was recorded (and released) in France on the BYG Actuel label. The album itself ranges from the experimental (and even somewhat humorous) Radio Gnome tracks to the spacier cuts like Tropical Fish: Selene, and on occasion even rocks out hard on tracks like Tried So Hard, written by the group's bassist, Christian Tritsch.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Summer Is The Man
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Following up on their successful debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos released Electric Comic Book in March of 1967. Unfortunately the first single from the album had two equally strong songs, one of which was favored by the producers and the other by the band. Radio stations were unsure which song to push, and as a result, neither made the top 40, which in turn had a negative effect on album sales. Most of the remaining tracks on the album were written by the band members, including Summer Is The Man, a song with an interesting chord structure, a catchy melody and somewhat existential lyrics.

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