Sunday, January 30, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2206 (B23) (starts 1/31/22) 

    Due to an equipment failure at our home station, I was unable to produce a new show this week. But never fear! Back in June of 2018 I recorded a backup (or contingency, if you prefer) episode of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era for just for such a situation. It includes an artists' set (Traffic), several sets from specific years, a couple short progressions through the years and even a band that's never been played on the show before. Coincidentally, like last week's show, this one ends with John Mayall, although in this case it's a single track rather than an entire album side. Of course, since it's Groundhog's Day this week, I suppose I could have just run last year's show, but I like this way better...

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Tired Of Waiting For You
Source:    Mono LP: Kinks-Size (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    You Won't Have To Cry
Source:    LP: Mr. Tambourine Man
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    For the first year and a half of the Byrds existence, Gene Clark was the band's primary songwriter. In fact, all of the non-cover songs on their debut LP, Mr. Tambourine Man, were either written or co-written by Clark, including You Won't Have To Cry, which was co-penned by Roger (then still Jim) McGuinn. The song itself is a love song to a woman coming out of yet another bad relationship, promising to treat her better than her past lovers did.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1965
    The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in Los Angeles, a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native Elayins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song (Bob Dylan's Love Minus Zero) to record as a single by their producer and allowed to write their own B side. In this case the intended B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and  guitarist Bill Rhinehart. Before the record was released, however, the producers decided that Too Many People was the stronger track and designated it the A side. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    St. Stephen
Source:    LP: Aoxomoxoa
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    One of the Grateful Dead's most recognizable tunes is St. Stephen. The song first appeared on the 1969 album Aoxomoxoa, and was a regular part of the band's live performances (usually combined with The Eleven) for the next few years. From the mid-1970s on the song was only occasionally played in concert, and was considered a special treat by Deadheads.

Artist:    Aphrodite's Child
Title:    Magic Mirror
Source:    CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in Europe as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Papathanassiou/Fiddy
Label:    Polydor (original European label: Mercury) (released in UK on Polydor)
Year:    1969
    Aphrodite's Child was formed in Greece in 1967, but left following a right-wing military coup that severely curtailed both political and artistic freedoms in that country. The band had been invited by Mercury Records to come to London and record, but were refused entry to the UK due to problems with their work permits and found themselves in Paris instead. Mercury's parent label, Philips, soon signed the band to a contract to record in France. Their first single for the label, Rain And Tears, was a top 10 single in several European countries and led to an equally popular album, End Of The World, that established Aphrodite's Child as one of the continent's most popular acts. That popularity did not extend to the UK, however, and subsequent records failed to make a dent on the British charts. One 1969 single was not even released in the UK by the band's regular label, Mercury, and was instead issued independently by the Polydor label. The B side of that single, Magic Mirror, shows a band just beginning to transition from their early psychedelic sound to the more experimental one that would characterize their best known work, a concept double LP based on the biblical book of Revelation called 666. The band's leader, Evangahlos Papathanassiou, would later shorten his name to Vangelis and become one of the world's top electronic music pioneers (can anyone say Chariots Of Fire?).

Artist:     Seatrain
Title:     Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Lady
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Sea Train)
Writer(s):    Gregory/Roberts
Label:     Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:     1969
     Following the breakup of the Blues Project, two of the members, bassist/flautist Andy Kulberg and drummer Roy Blumenthal, relocated to San Francisco. They hooked up with Richard Greene (violin, keyboards, viola, vocals), John Gregory (guitar, vocals), Don Kretmar (bass, saxophone) and dedicated lyricist Jim Roberts to form Seatrain. Greene had been a member of Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, while Gregory was from the Mystery Trend. After releasing an album called Planned Obsolescence as the Blues Project to fullfill contractual obligations, the band made their official debut in 1969 with the album Sea Train. By the time their next album, Seatrain, came out in 1970, only Kulberg and Greene remained from the band's original lineup.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).

Artist:     Electric Prunes
Song:     Get Me To the World On Time
Source:     Mono CD: The complete Reprise singles (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Jones
Label:     Real Gone/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Songwriter Annette Tucker usually worked with Nancy Mantz, and the pair was responsible for the Electric Prunes biggest hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). On Get Me To The World On Time, which originally appeared on the band's first LP, she instead teamed up with Jill Jones and came up with a kind of psychedelic Bo Diddley song that ended up being the Prunes second biggest hit (and the first rock song that I ever heard first on an FM station).

Artist:    Rovin' Kind
Title:    My Generation
Source:    Mono LP: The Dunwich Records Story (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Tutman (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1967
    Unlike most acts signed to Dunwich Records, the Rovin' Kind had already released a pair of singles (on two different labels) before switching labels in late 1966. Their first release for the Chicago-based label was a cover of the Who's My Generation with a decidedly garage-rock feel to it. The Rovin' Kind were primarily a live act, however, and continued to do gigs throughout their brief recording career. The Rovin' Kind eventually morphed into Illinois Speed Press, who released two LPs for the Columbia label before splitting up, with founding member Paul Cotton going on to become a member of Poco.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Mercy, Mercy
Source:    Mono CD: Out Of Our Heads
Writer(s):    Covay/Miller
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    One of Jimi Hendrix's first recordings as an R&B sideman was on Don Covay's 1964 recording of his song Mercy, Mercy (sometimes known as Have Mercy). The song was Covay's first breakthrough hit, going to the top of the R&B charts and crossing over into the top 40 charts as well. Possibly more importantly, the song was covered the following year by the Rolling Stones on their Out Of Our Heads album, bringing the song to a much wider worldwide audience. The Stones version of the song follows Covay's arrangement fairly closely, but, in the words of rock critic Richie Unterberger, "really upped the guitar wattage" from the original version. That's right. Keith Richards actually "out-louded" Jimi Hendrix on a recording of the same song. Granted, Hendrix, as a side man, was under strict instructions to play it the way he was told to without any embellishments of his own, but still...

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water (live version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2014
    In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, whom the Standells recorded for. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     One Rainy Wish
Source:     CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     In the summer of 1967 my dad (who was an Air Force NCO), got transferred to Lindsay Air Station in Weisbaden, Germany. The housing situation there being what it was, it was several weeks before the rest of us could join him, and during that time he went out and bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder that a fellow GI had picked up in Japan. The Akai had small speakers built into it, but the best way to listen to it was through headphones. It would be another year before he would pick up a turntable, so I started buying pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. Two of the first three tapes I bought were Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, both by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As I was forced to share a bedroom with my little brother I made it a habit to sleep on the couch in the living room instead, usually with the headphones on listening to Axis: Bold As Love. I was blown away by the stereo effects on the album, which I attributed (somewhat correctly) to Hendrix, although I would find out years later that much of the credit belongs to engineer Eddie Kramer as well. One Rainy Wish, for example, starts off with all the instruments in the center channel (essentially a mono mix). After a few seconds of slow spacy intro the song gets into gear with vocals isolated all the way over to the left, with a guitar overdub on the opposite side to balance it out. As the song continues, things move back and forth from side to side, fading in and out at the same time. It was a hell of a way to drift off to sleep every night.

Artist:    Them
Title:    The Moth
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    After Van Morrison left Them to pursue a career as a solo artist, his old band decided to head back to Ireland and recruit Kenny McDowell for lead vocals. Them then moved out to California and hooked up with Tower Records, which was already getting known for signing garage bands such as the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband, as well as for issuing soundtrack albums for cheapie teen exploitation flicks such as Riot on Sunset Strip and Wild in the Streets. The 1968 LP Time Out! Time In! For Them was the second of two psychedelic albums the group cut for Tower before moving into harder rock and another label.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    It's No Secret
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    The first Jefferson Airplane song to get played on the radio was not Somebody To Love. Rather, it was It's No Secret, from the album Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, that got extensive airplay, albeit only in the San Francisco Bay area. Still, the song was featured on a 1966 Bell Telephone Hour special on Haight Ashbury that introduced a national TV audience to what was happening out on the coast and may have just touched off the exodus to San Francisco the following year.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Fool On The Hill
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The Beatles only came up with six new songs for their 1967 telefilm Magical Mystery Tour, enough to fill up only one side of an LP. Rather than use outtakes and B sides to complete the album (which they had done in 1965 for the Help album), the band chose to release the six songs on a two-record 45 RPM Extended Play set, complete with a booklet that included the storyline, lyric sheets and several still photographs from the film itself. Magical Mystery Tour appeared in this form in both the UK and in Europe, while in the US and Canada, Capitol Records instead issued the album in standard LP format, using the band's 1967 singles and B sides to fill up side two. None of the songs from the telefilm were issued as singles, although one, I Am The Walrus, was used as the B side to the Hello Goodbye single. Another song, The Fool On The Hill, was covered by Sergio Mendes and Brazil '66, making the US charts in early 1968. By the 1980s, however, the only version of the song still played on the radio was the original Beatles version, with the footage from the Magical Mystery Tour telefilm used as a video on early music TV channels.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Pressed Rat And Warthog
Source:     LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:     Baker/Taylor
Label:     Atco
Year:    1968
     The opening track of side two of Cream's third album, Wheels Of Fire, is one of those songs you either love or hate. Personally I loved Pressed Rat And Warthog the first time I heard it but had several friends that absolutely detested it. As near as I can tell, Ginger Baker actually talks that way. Come to think of it, all the members of Cream had pretty heavy accents.

Artist:    Fut
Title:    Have You Heard The Word
Source:    Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kipner/Lawrie/Groves
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Beacon)
Year:    1970
            Have You Heard The Word was the result of a drunken 1969 recording session attended by Steve Groves and Steve Kipner (known collectively as Tin Tin), Maurice Gibb (of the Bee Gees) and Gibbs's brother-in-law Billie Lawrie. A tape of the session was leaked to Beacon Records, who issued it as a single credited to the Fut. The song has been repeatedly mistaken for a lost Beatles track; in fact, Yoko One even tried to copyright the piece as a lost John Lennon composition in 1985.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono LP: Psychotic Reaction (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Concord/Bicycle (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    Although San Jose, Ca. is a rather large city in its own right (the 10th-largest city in the US in fact), it has always had a kind of suburban status, thanks to being within the same media market as San Francisco. Nonetheless, San Jose had its own very active music scene in the mid-60s, and Count Five was, for a time in late 1966, at the top of the heap, thanks in large part to Psychotic Reaction tearing up the national charts.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring
Source:    CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Of the ten songs on Traffic's self-titled second album, half were Dave Mason compositions that he sung himself, while the remaining five were credited to the team of Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi. At least that was the way things stood when the LP was first released. On later issues of the album, however, flautist/saxophonist Chris Wood was credited as co-writer of Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring. A check of the records of BMI, the licensing organization for broadcast rights, shows that Wood had been considered one of the writers all along, even though he didn't actually play on the recording.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Medicated Goo
Source:    LP: Last Exit
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    Island (original US lable: United Artists)
Year:    1968
    Originally released as a single in 1968, Medicated Goo was one of the last songs released by Traffic before the group disbanded in the wake of Steve Winwood's decision to join Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech to form Blind Faith. After the group had split up, producer Jimmy MIller was able to cobble together enough material to complete a third Traffic album, Last Exit, in 1969. Medicated Goo, a legitimate hit single, was an abvious choice for inclusion on the LP.

Artist:      Traffic
Title:     (Roamin' Thro' the Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:      CD: Traffic
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original US label: United Artists)
Year:     1968
     In its original run, Traffic only released two full albums (and a third that consisted of non-LP singles, studio outtakes and live tracks). The second of these, simply titled Traffic, featured several memorable tunes, including (Roamin' Through the Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, a  Steve Winwood/Jim Capaldi collaboration.

Artist:     Johnny Winter
Title:     Bad Luck And Trouble
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer:     Johnny Winter
Label:     United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Year:     1968
     Johnny Winter first started getting attention while playing the Texas blues circuit. His first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, originally appeared on the regional Sonobeat label and was subsequently reissued nationally on Imperial. Unlike his brother Edgar, who got caught up in the whole glam rock thing, Johnny Winter remained a respected blues artist for his entire career.

Artist:    Frumious Bandersnatch
Title:    Cheshire
Source:    British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on untitled EP)
Writer(s):    Jack King
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Year:    1968
    The longest track on the Frumious Bandersnatch EP (taking up the entire second side of the record), was a tune called Cheshire. Although the recent British CD issue of The Berkeley EPs credits Bob Winkleman as the writer of the piece, the liner notes of the same CD make it clear that Cheshire is actually the work of drummer Jackson King; in fact, the song dates back to the band's earliest days with its original lineup. Like the band name itself, the title of the track reflects King's intense interest in the works of Lewis Carroll.   
Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    It's Alright Ma, It's Only Witchcraft
Source:    British import CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Hutchings/Thompson
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Cotillion)
Year:    1968
    Fairport Convention has long been known for being an important part of the British folk music revival that came to prominence in the early 70s. Originally, however, the band was modeled after the folk-rock bands that had risen to prominence on the US West Coast from 1965-66. Their first LP was released in June of 1968, and drew favorable reviews from the UK rock press, which saw them as Britain's answer to Jefferson Airplane. One of the LP's highlights is It's Alright, It's Only Witchcraft, which features electric guitar work by Richard Thompson and Simon Nicol that rivals that of Jorma Kaukonen. This album was not initially released in the US. Two years later, following the success of Fairport Convention's later albums with vocalist Sandy Denny on the A&M label, the band's first LP (with Judy Dyble, known as much for her habit of knitting sweaters onstage as for her vocals) was given a limited release on Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary. This album should not be confused with the first Fairport Convention LP released in the US (in 1969), which was actually a retitling of the band's second British album, What We Did On Our Holidays.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Listen, Learn, Read On
Source:    CD: The Book Of Taliesyn
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans/Lord/Paice
Label:    Eagle (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    Deep Purple's second LP, The Book Of Taliesyn, was recorded only three months after the release of the debut LP, Shades Of Deep Purple, in 1968. The reason for this rush job was that they were about to embark on their first US tour, and their US label, Tetragrammaton, felt that they needed to have a new album to promote while on the road. This is actually a case of forward thinking, since putting out a new album just before starting a tour is now standard practice for popular artists. Given the lack of time the band had to come up with new material, The Book Of Taliesyn actually came out pretty good overall, although I have to say that every time I hear the album's opening track (Listen, Learn, Read On) images of Spinal Tap on stage with their miniature Stonehenge come to mind.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Priority (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Heard (later known as the Bob Seger System), the anarchistic MC5 and their "little brother" band, the Stooges, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    The War Is Over
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs (originally released on LP: Tape From California)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    Considered one of the most iconic antiwar songs of the 1960s, The War Is Over, from Phil Ochs' fifth album, Tape From California, was inspired by poet Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg's idea was that, instead of expending energy protesting against the war in Vietnam, people should simply declare that the war was over, and if enough people did so, the war would indeed end. Of course, like all wars, the Vietnam War did eventually end, but not for several more years, although Ochs's song did inspire many young men to burn their draft cards as a symbolic gesture.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    You Keep Me Hangin' On
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    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 edited considerably, clocking in at around three minutes.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)
Source:    CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    There was so much going on with the 13th Floor Elevators in the months leading up to the release of their second LP, Easter Everywhere, that a book could easily be written about it all. The group returned to Texas following a successful California tour in late 1966 and were hailed as returning heroes, largely thanks to the success of their first single, You're Gonna Miss Me. Soon, however, things started to go wrong. The band was under considerable pressure to begin sessions for a new album, but the band members themselves were divided on whether to stay in Texas and work on studio projects or return to California, where the population was much more receptive to the psychedelic sounds the Elevators themselves had helped pioneer. The issue was finally decided when lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland, the one undecided member, got his probation revoked and was not allowed to leave the state. The band's rhythm section, Ronnie Leatherman and John Walton, went to California anyway, leaving Sutherland, guitarist/vocalist Roky Erickson and electric jug player Tommy Hall looking for replacements. Easter Anywhere was conceived as a major spiritual statement, meant to tie together elements of eastern and western religion with mind-expansion elements of LSD; an ambitious project, to be sure. Unfortunately, by the time the new bassist and drummer, Danny Galindo and Danny Thomas, arrived at the rural hunting cabin the rest of the band was hiding out in, Hall and Erickson were so deeply into the project (and LSD), that they were unable to effectively communicate their ideas to the new guys. As a result the group spent an excessive amount of time in the studio with little to show for it. Eventually, when time and money ran out the album was declared finished and Easter Anywhere was released in November of 1967.

Artist:     Pink Floyd
Title:     The Scarecrow
Source:     CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer:     Syd Barrett
Label:     Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     Even people with only a passing familiarity with rock history know the name Pink Floyd. The album Dark Side Of The Moon set records for longevity on the Billboard album charts and the film version of The Wall was a midnight movie standard for years. With all that success it's easy to overlook the contributions made by the band's original lead guitarist and primary songwriter Syd Barrett. After two succesful singles, both written by Barrett, the band booked time in the Abbey Road studios to record their first LP, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (coincidentally, the Beatles were also at Abbey Road at that time recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band). Again, Barrett was the writer of record of the majority of material on the album, either as part of a group writing effort or, as is the case with Scarecrow, the sole songwriter. Sadly, mental health issues would sideline Barrett after Piper hit the racks and after contributing only a couple songs to the follow-up LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Barrett left Pink Floyd altogether, to be permanently replaced by David Gilmour.

Artist:    John Mayall
Title:    No More Tears
Source:    LP: The Blues Alone
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    From the invention of the first phonograph up into the early 1950s, sound was recorded onto a single medium, be it a record, wire or magnetic tape. Then came stereo. The first stereo recordings were done on magnetic tape using special recording heads to record two signals simultaneously. It wasn't long before someone figured out that you could record two different things on those tracks and then mix them together into a monoraul final recording. This led to machines that could record three separate tracks, then four, which is where things stood in the mid-1960s. The next big step was to go to eight recording tracks that could be mixed down to two stereo tracks. With all these tracks came the possibility of doing something that had never been done before: one person could make a recording playing all the instruments himself. One of the first people to record an entire LP this way was John Mayall on his Blues Alone album in 1967 (although, to be honest, he did utilize the services of drummer Keef Hartley rather than play his own percussion parts). Although it may not have been Mayall's best album (a lot of competition for that title), The Blues Alone did have several outstanding tracks, such as No More Tears (which has absolutely nothing to do with either baby shampoo or Ozzy Osbourne).

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2206 (B23) (starts 1/31/22)

    This week we take an extended look at the year 1969; a year of beginnings for some (Crosby, Stills & Nash) and endings for others (the Beatles). It was also the year that the Firesign Theatre gave us the Further Adventures Of Nick Danger, which we are presenting in its entirety, uncut. After a few more 1969 tracks we round out the show with the song from 1971 that made Yes something more than an answer to a question.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Here Comes The Sun
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' development as a studio band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the top five on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song, written while Harrison, tired of dealing with the business aspects of Apple Corp., was hiding out at his friend Eric Clapton's place, has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title:    Guinnevere
Source:    LP: So Far (originally released on LP: Crosby, Stills and Nash)
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    By 1969 David Crosby had developed into a first-class songwriter. Nowhere is that more evident than on Guinnevere, from the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album. Instrumentally the song is essentially a solo guitar piece. It is the layered harmonies from Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash that make the song truly stand out as one of the best releases of 1969.
Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Percy's Song
Source:    LP: Fairport Chronicles (originally released on LP: Unhalfbricking)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    Although Bob Dylan recorded Percy's Song in 1963, his version of the song remained unreleased until 1985, when it appeared (along with other unreleased tracks) on the Biograph compilation album. Meanwhile, however, bootleg copies of the song were widely circulated and at least two cover versions of the song were released. The best known of these is by Fairport Convention, originally released on the 1969 album Halfbricking and featured on the Fairport Chronicles compilation album.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    The Further Adventures Of Nick Danger
Source:    CD: How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    The Firesign Theatre, consisting of Phil Proctor, Peter Bergman, Phil Austin and David Ossman, pioneered a type of "counter-culture comedy" that would be followed up on by such stars as Cheech and Chong, George Carlin, and the Credibility Gap (with Harry Shearer and Michael McKean), as well as the National Lampoon Radio Hour (featuring Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Christopher Guest and others). The Firesigns most famous work is The Further Adventures Of Nick Danger from the 1969 album How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All. The piece itself runs over 28 minutes, taking up the entire second side of the original LP. It is a parody of old-time radio detective dramas, done in a noir style that has itself become a standard comedy trope. The plot itself is secondary to the jokes, many of which are sly references to counter-cultural icons such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan. There have been several more Nick Danger pieces by the Firesign Theatre over the years, the most recent being 2001'sThe Bride Of Firesign, but none approach the classic status of the 1969 original.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Honky Tonk Women
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1969
    After revitalizing their career with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man in 1968, the Rolling Stones delivered the coup-de-grace the following year with a true monster of a hit: the classic Honky Tonk Women. The song was the first single without Brian Jones, who had been found dead in his swimming pool not long after being kicked out of the band. Jones's replacement, Mick Taylor (fresh from a stint with blues legend John Mayall), plays slide guitar on the track.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Who Needs Ya
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective
Writer(s):    Byrom/Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1969
    It's no secret that there are often clashes between members of talented bands. Sometimes these clashes turn pretty ugly, as was the case between Steppenwolf guitarist Michael Monarch and lead vocalist John Kay. On at least one occasion Monarch got so angry with Kay that he stopped playing in the middle of a performance. Finally it got to the point where one of them had to go. Since Steppenwolf was basically Kay's band, Monarch was the one to leave. He was replaced by Larry Byrom, who was a member of the Los Angeles band T.I.M.E. Byrom stayed with with the band for the next two years, co-writing the tune Who Needs Ya, which was released as a single in October of 1970 and appeared on the album Steppenwolf 7.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Roundabout
Source:    CD: Fragile
Writer(s):    Anderson/Howe
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Some artists are one-hit wonders. Others have long and productive careers. Most, however, never really achieve the kind of success they hope for. Somewhere in the middle of all that are artists who make it big on the strength of one song, and then manage to stick around long enough to make a more permanent name for themselves. But still, if it weren't for that first big hit they probably would have faded off into obscurity without anyone knowing who they were. Such a band was Yes, and their big hit song was Roundabout, from their 1971 album Fragile. Ask yourself this: if it weren't for Roundabout, do you think anyone would have paid attention to Close To The Edge or Tales From Topographic Oceans? Would Owner Of A Lonely Heart even have been written? Doubtful.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2205 (starts 1/24/22)

    This week we have our first Advanced Psych segment of the year, featuring two tracks that have not been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. The first is from British guitarist Geiger Von Müller, who has been described as "a solid proponent of the neo-cubist semi-deconstructionist blues scene", while the other is from the Electric Prunes' 2004 release California. In between, we have a returning favorite from the 1980s incarnation of Robert Fripp's King Crimson. Also of note: an all-Detroit set from 1969 and, in its entirety, the first side of John Mayall's classic Blues From Laurel Canyon.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Within You Without You
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1967
    George Harrison began to take an interest in the Sitar as early as 1965. By 1966 he had become proficient enough on the Indian instrument to compose and record Love You To for the Revolver album. He followed that up with perhaps his most well known sitar-based track, Within You Without You, which opens side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. After releasing one more similarly-styled song, The Inner Light, as a B side in early 1968, Harrison recorded an entire album's worth of sitar-based tunes for the film Wonderwall before deciding that he was never going to be in the same league as Ravi Shankar, whom Harrison had become friends with by that time. For the remainder of his time with the Beatles Harrison would concentrate on his guitar work and songwriting skills, resulting in classic songs such as While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Try It
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Levine/Bellack
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded Try It, a tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat, which should have garnered it at least a 65 rating on American Bandstand.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Pictures Of Lily
Source:    Mono CD: Meaty, Beaty, Big And Bouncy (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    Pictures of Lily was the first single released by the Who in 1967. It hit the #4 spot on the British charts, but only made it to #51 in the US. This was nothing new for the Who, as several of their early singles, including Substitute, I Can't Explain and even My Generation hit the British top 10 without getting any US airplay (or chart action) at all.

Artist:    Masters' Apprentices
Title:    Tired Of Just Wandering
Source:    Australian import CD: The Master's Apprentices (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Michael Bower
Label:    Aztec (original label: Astor)
Year:    1967
    The Masters' Apprentices (or Master's Apprentices or Masters Apprentices...they released records under all three variations at one time or another, both with and without the definitive article), were formed as the Mustangs in Adelaide, Australia in 1964 with Mick Bower on rhythm guitar, Rick Morrison on lead guitar, Brian Vaughton on drums and Gavin Webb on bass guitar. The all-instrumental band specialized in doing covers of groups like the Shadows and the Ventures until, heavily influenced by the Beatles, they took on Scottish-born vocalist Jim Keays, modifying their repertoire to include British invasion bands. As their popularity grew, the Mustangs began playing more original material, changing their name to The Masters Apprentices (no apostrophe) in late 1965. In 1966 they signed with the Adelaide-based Astor Records, releasing half a dozen singles, as well as a full-length album (as The Master's Apprentices) over the next couple of years. Their third single, Living In A Child's Dream (released as The Masters' Apprentices in August of 1967), is considered one of the first examples of Australian psychedelic music, and its popularity propelled the band into teen idol status. This all was a bit too much for Bower, who had written both Child's Dream and its B side, Tired Of Just Waiting. One month after the single was released Bower suffered a severe nervous breakdown and was ordered by his doctor to give up performing, which he did for 10 years. As the band's primary songwriter, Bower's departure resulted in the band going through a period of chaos before being reorganized by Keays with an almost entirely different lineup and sound, beginning a transformation from pop stars to serious rock band with a bit of a "bad boy" image. This "classic" version of Masters Apprentices lasted until the band's breakup in 1972.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here
Source:    45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Barking Pumpkin (original label: Verve)
Year:    1966
    Help, I'm A Rock and its follow up track It Can't Happen Here are among the best-known Frank Zappa compositions on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! What is not so well known is that the band's label, Verve, issued a single version of the track under the title Help, I'm A Rock, 3rd Movement: It Can't Happen Here, as the B side of the band's first single. This mono single version removes the avant-garde jazz piano and drum section from the piece, making the track slightly over three minutes in length. The result is one of the strangest a cappella performances ever committed to vinyl.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)
Source:     LP: Fifth Dimension
Writer:     Roger McGuinn
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     1966 was the beginning of a time when rock musicians began to experiment in the recording studio. One early effort was Roger (then Jim) McGuinn's 2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song), which uses a recording of an actual jet plane throughout the track.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Smoke And Water (original mix)
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Ultimate Turn On (originally released on CD: Ignition)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Sundazed)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2000
    Before signing with Original Sound Records in late 1966, Sean Bonniwell's band, the Music Machine, recorded several demos, including Smoke And Water. The song was considered too conventional by Bonniwell's standards to be included on the group's debut LP, although it is entirely possible that if the record company had not included several cover songs on the album without the band's knowledge or consent, Smoke And Water, with its outstanding keyboard work from Doug Rhodes, might have made the cut.

Artist:    Mockingbirds
Title:    How To Find A Lover
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):    Peter Couad
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    In addition to being one of the most successful songwriters in British beat music, Graham Gouldman was one of the most unsuccessful bandleaders in British beat music. His group, the Mockingbirds, released three singles in 1965, all of which were written or co-written by Gouldman. None of them charted, despite the fact that they were released on high-profile labels (Columbia and Immediate). The following year the band signed with yet another major label, Decca, and released two more singles. Neither of these, however, were written by Gouldman, who by then was holding back his best songs to be sold to proven hitmakers like the Hollies and Herman's Hermits. The final Mockingbirds single was How To Find A Lover, written by Peter Couad (or Cowap, according to one source). It too bombed, despite being a well-crafted pop song. Gouldman and bandmate Kevin Godley would eventually be reunited in the 1970 with the band 10cc.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Voodoo In My Basement (instrumental backing track)
Source:    LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
     With their 1966 LP Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, New York's most popular band set out to make an album on which each song sounded like it was performed by a different group. For the most part they succeeded, with songs like Nashville Cats and Summer In The City having few similarities. One of the more notable tracks on the album is Voodoo In My Basement, which acknowledges the folk-blues scene of New York's Greenwich Village, where the band was formed. The backing track heard here was included as a bonus track on the 2003 reissue of the album.

Artist:    Zombies
Title:    She's Not There
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rod Argent
Label:    Priority (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    Most of the original British invasion bands were guitar-oriented, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. One notable exception was the Zombies, whose leader, Rod Argent, built the group around his electric piano. Their first single, She's Not There, was a major hit on both sides of the Atlantic and is ranked among the top British rock songs of all time.

Artist:    McCoys
Title:    Hang On Sloopy
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Russell/Farrell
Label:    Bang
Year:    1965
    The McCoys were a fairly typical Eastern Ohio band of the mid-60s, playing parties, teen clubs, high school dances and occassionally opening for out of town acts. In 1965 the McCoys opened for the Strangeloves, who were on the road promoting their hit single I Want Candy (of course, the Strangeloves were in reality a trio of professional songwriters who had come up with a rather unusual gimmick: they passed themselves off as sons of an Australian sheepherder). The members of the Strangeloves were so impressed with the McCoys, particularly vocalist/guitarist Rick Derringer, that they offered them the song that was slated to be the follow-up to I Want Candy: a song called Hang On Sloopy. The instrumental tracks for the song had already been recorded, so the only member of the McCoys to actually appear on the record is Derringer. Hang On Sloopy went all the way to the top of the charts, becoming one of the top 10 singles of the year and providing a stellar debut for Derringer, who went on to hook up with both Johnny Winter and the Edgar Winter Group before embarking on a successful solo career.

Artist:    Oxford Circle
Title:    Foolish Woman
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Yoder/Patton
Label:    Rhino (original label: World United)
Year:    1966
    The Oxford Circle was one of those bands that had a reputation for being the opening band that blew the headliners off the stage, yet never was able to make it big itself. Originally from Sacramento, California, the group appeared frequently in and around San Francisco in 1965 and 1966, but disbanded before the scene started getting national attention, with many of the members moving on to greater fame with other bands. Drummer Paul Whaley was the first to get national attention as a founding member of Blue Cheer. Oxford Circle leader Gary Lee Yoder would eventually join Blue Cheer as well, after a short stint with his own band, Kak. Also of note was bassist Jim Keylor, who was in an early incarnation of Roxy and went on to form BSU studios, where the Dead Kennedys recorded. For all that, the Oxford Circle made only one single, Foolish Woman, which was released on the independent World United label in 1966.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    I Won't Hurt You
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Writer:    Harris/Lloyd/Markley
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Unlike more famous L.A. groups like Love and the Doors, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was not a Sunset Strip club band. In fact, the WCPAEB really didn't play that many live performances in their career, although those they did tended to be at high profile venues such as the Hollywood Bowl. The band was formed when the Harris brothers, sons of an accomplished classical musician, decided to record their own album and release it on the small Fifa label. Only a few copies of that album, Volume One, were made and finding one now is next to impossible. That might have been the end of the story except for the fact that they were acquaintances of Kim Fowley, the Zelig-like record producer and all-around Hollywood (and sometimes London) hustler. Fowley invited them to a party where the Yardbirds were playing; a party also attended by one Bob Markley. Markley, who was nearly ten years older than the Harris brothers, was a former TV show host from the midwest who had moved out to the coast to try his luck in Hollywood. Impressed by the flock of young girls surrounding the Yardbirds, Markley expressed to Fowley his desire to be a rock and roll star and have the girls flock around him, too. Fowley, ever the deal-maker, responded by introducing Markley to the Harris Brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was born. With the addition of guitarist Michael Lloyd and the influence of Markley's not-inconsiderable family money, the group soon landed a contract with Reprise Records, where they proceeded to record the album Part One, which includes the tune I Won't Hurt You, which uses a simulated heartbeat to keep the...umm, beat.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Laléna
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Released only in the US do to an ongoing dispute between Donovan and the british Pye label, Laléna hit the Billboard top 40 in late 1968, hitting the #33 spot. A quiet ballad, Laléna was inspired by Lotte Lenya's character in the film version of Threepenny Opera. In a 2004 the Scottish singer/songwriter had this to say about the song: "She's a streetwalker, but in the history of the world, in all nations, women have taken on various roles from priestess to whore to mother to maiden to wife. This guise of sexual power is very prominent, and therein I saw the plight of the character. Women have roles thrust upon them and make the best they can out of them, so I'm describing the character Lotte Lenya is playing, and a few other women I've seen during my life, but it's a composite character of women who are outcasts on the edge of society.

Artist:    Stooges
Title:    I Wanna Be Your Dog (John Cale mix)
Source:    CD: The Stooges (bonus track)
Writer(s):    The Stooges
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1969
    In late 1968 Elektra Records sent out DJ/publicist Danny Fields to check out a new band that was getting a lot of attention on the Detroit music scene. That band was the MC5, and Fields signed them immediately after attending one of their gigs. The next day, the MC5's Wayne Kramer assured Fields that he would also like their "little brother" band, the Psychedelic Stooges. He did, and they also signed with Elektra. Former Velvet Underground member John Cale was brought in to produce the band's first album, but Elektra president Jac Holzman rejected his original mixes as "too arty" and, along with vocalist Iggy Pop, remixed the entire album. The Cale mixes, including one (I Wanna Be Your Dog) that has Cale playing piano on it, sat on a shelf until 2005, when it was included as a bonus track on the reissue of The Stooges (the "Psychedelic" having been dropped at the behest of Holzman).

Artist:    MC5
Title:    Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa)
Source:    CD: Kick Out The Jams
Writer(s):    MC5
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Although left-wing politics were a large part of the America folk music scene in the 1960s, it wasn't until later in the decade that rock bands followed suit. One of the most radical was Detroit's MC5. Originally formed as the Bounty Hunters by guitarists Wayne Kramer and Fred Smith, the group took on the name MC5 after being joined by vocalist Rob Tyner in 1964. It was Tyner that got the band involved in politics, being a few years older than Kramer and Smith. The addition of bassist Michael Davis and drummer Dennis Thompson in 1965 completed the band's classic lineup. With their unique synthesis of garage rock and free jazz, the MC5 soon became one of the most popular bands on the Detroit music scene, releasing a couple of singles in 1967 and 1968 before coming to the attention of Elektra Records president Jac Holzman, who sent DJ/Publicist Danny Fields out to the motor city to check them out. Fields liked what he heard and immediately signed the band. It was decided early on that the only way to truly showcase the MC5's talents was to release an album of live performances. Their first LP, Kick Out The Jams, was recorded on October 30th and 31st, 1968 at Detroit's Grande Ballroom. One of the most popular songs on the album was Rocket Reducer No. 62 (Rama Lama Fa Fa Fa), now recognized as one of the most energetic performances ever caught on tape. After Detroit's largest department store, Hudson's, refused to stock the album because of the band's use of profanity, Tyner took out a full-page ad in a local underground newspaper that consisted of a picture of Tyner, the Elektra logo and the words "Fuck Hudsons". This led to Hudson's refusing to stock any records on the Elektra label, which in turn led Elektra to drop the MC5 from their artists roster.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Starline (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    People who are familiar with the 70s and 80s hits of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band may be surprised to hear how much raw energy there is on Seger's early recordings with the Heard, and later the Bob Seger System. The best known of these records is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, released as a single in 1969. The song did pretty well at the time, but it would be several years before Seger would return to the charts.

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     Catfish Blues
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer:     Robert Petway
Label:     United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year     1967
     Like many other US cities in the 1960s, San Francisco had a small but enthusiastic community of blues record collectors. A group of them got together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, and made quite an impression when they played the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This led to a contract with Liberty Records and an album consisting entirely of cover versions of blues standards. One standout track from that album is Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, expanded to over six minutes by the Heat.

Artist:    Geiger Von Müller
Title:    Origins #2
Source:    CD: Teddy Zur And The Kwands
Writer(s):    Geiger Von Müller
Label:    GVM
Year:    2018
    Geiger Von Müller is a London-based guitarist who has deconstructed the blues down to one of its most essential elements, slide guitar, and then explored from scratch what can be done with the instrument. The result is tracks like Origins #2, from the album Teddy Zur And The Kwands. The all-instrumental album is accompanied by the beginning of a science fiction story about the Kwands, a powerful race that kidnaps children's stuff toys, including one called Teddy Zur, to work in their factory as slaves. You'll have to find a copy of the CD itself to get a more detailed explanation.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds)
Source:    LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Writer(s):    Belew/Bruford/Fripp/Levin
Label:    Warner Brothers/EG
Year:    1984
    The third and final LP of the 1980s version of King Crimson was not as well-received as its predecessors. Three Of A Perfect Pair featured a "left side" made up mostly of relatively commercial songs with lyrics by Adrian Belew and music composed by the entire band. The "right" side of the LP featured more free-form improvisation on tracks like Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds), which closes the album. Robert Fripp, in a radio interview, described the LP's "left" side as "accessible" and its "right" side as "excessive", which seems as good a description of Three Of A Perfect Pair as any other.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Cinéma Vérité
Source:    CD: California
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2004
    After successfully reestablishing themselves as one of the world's premier psychedelic rock bands with the album Artifact in 2001, the Psychedelic Prunes got to work on their first self-generated concept album (Mass In F Minor having been imposed on them by their then-producer Dave Hassinger). That album, California, centers on the band's own impressions of the Summer of Love and the years beyond, and is an excellent showcase of the songwriting talents of lead vocalist James Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin. The final piece on the album is Cinéma Vérité, which is, to my knowledge, the longest track ever recorded by the Electric Prunes.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

Artist:    John Mayall
Title:    Blues From Laurel Canyon-part one
Source:    European import CD: Blues From Laurel Canyon
Writer(s):    John Mayall
Label:    Decca
Year:    1968
    In July of 1968, in the middle of a concert tour of Germany, John Mayall made a decision to disband his group The Bluesbreakers, which at this point in time had seven members. After finishing out the band's live commitments, Mayall then got to work on assembling a new, smaller band consisting of himself on keyboards and vocals, Stephen Thompson on bass, Colin Allen on drums, and 17-year-old Mick Taylor on guitar. Once the new group was formed, Mayall promptly left London for a three-week stay in Southern California's Laurel Canyon, where he met several like-minded musicians, including Frank Zappa and the members of Canned Heat, as well as some of L.A.'s more famous groupies. While there he began chronicling his visit by way of a series of songs that would become his next album, Blues From Laurel Canyon. The first of these, Vacation, sets the stage for what is to follow and showcase's Taylor's guitar work. From there it's Walking On Sunset, a paeon to one of L.A.'s most famous boulevards. Laurel Canyon home describes his temporary abode, while 2401 describes a visit to the organized chaos of the Zappa household. The final three songs on side one, Ready To Ride, Medicine Man and Somebody's Acting Like A Child tell the tale of a romantic interlude, and are among Mayall's strongest material. Recorded in early August of 1968, the album was released in November, and helped cement Mayall's reputation as the godfather of British blues.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2205 (starts 1/24/22)

    This week, following an opening track from the Joe Walsh era James Gang, we work our way back from 1976 to 1968, one year at a time. Along the way we run across album tracks from Savoy Brown, Curtis Mayfield, the Mothers and several other artists. There's even a token hit single hidden in the middle of it all.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    There I Go Again
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    The two sides of James Gang Rides Again sound like two entirely different albums. As it turns out, this was somewhat intentional. According to bassist Dale Peters, guitarist Joe Walsh had written a set of acoustic tunes while the band was recording what would become side one of the album. Rather than try to hastily come up with another side's worth of tunes, the band decided just to let Walsh record the songs he had already written with a minimum of accompaniment. Among those tunes on side two of James Gang Rides Again is There I Go Again, a catchy number that features Walsh on both acoustic and (overdubbed) steel guitar.

Artist:    Tommy Bolin
Title:    Shake The Devil
Source:    CD: Private Eyes
Writer(s):    Bolin/Cook
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1976
    Tommy Bolin was a self-taught guitarist that impressed pretty much everyone who ever heard him play, including the members of Deep Purple, who invited him to join the band in 1975 following the departure of founding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. Bolin accepted, although doing so meant he was unable to properly promote his own debut solo LP, Teaser. After Deep Purple officially disbanded, Bolin formed his own band and began working on his second solo LP, Private Eyes. The album, featuring outstanding tracks such as Shake The Devil, was released in September of 1976, and Bolin went on tour to promote Private Eyes. Unfortunately, Bolin died of a drug overdose on December 3, 1976 in Miami following a live appearance opening for Jeff Beck, cutting short a brilliant career.

Artist:    Renaissance
Title:    Song Of Scheherazade-part two
Source:    LP: Scheherazade And Other Stories
Writer(s):    Hout/Camp/Dunford/Thatcher
Label:    Sire
Year:    1975
    Probably the most musically ambitious piece in the entire Renaissance catalog, Song Of Scheheraze takes up the entire second side of the 1975 LP Scheherazade And Other Stories. The nearly 25-minute long suite is made up of several sections, with a break about halfway through. This the second half of that suite. The album itself, the band's 6th studio LP, was the first to not include any compositions from the group's founding members, drummer Jim McCarty having severed ties with the band following the release of Turn Of The Cards.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Naked Eye
Source:    British import CD (Spirit Of Joy) (originally released on LP: Odds And Sods)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1974
    While touring to promote the Tommy album, the Who began developing several new songs as part of their live act. Many of these appeared, at least in part, on the Live At Leeds album in 1970. One of those songs, Naked Eye, was partially recorded in the studio around the same time, but remained unfinished when the 1971 album Who's Next was released. Over the next couple of years several bootlegs of the Who's live performances were in circulation, prompting bassist John Entwhistle to compile a new album of outtakes and unreleased tracks in 1974. The album Odds And Sods, included the completed version of Naked Eye.

Artist:    Mothers
Title:    I'm The Slime
Source:    CD: Over-Nite Sensation
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Zappa (original label: Discreet)
Year:    1973
    In 1973, Frank Zappa, along with an array of talented musicians, recorded two albums' worth of material. The first, released as a Mothers album, was Over-Nite Sensation. Strangely enough, a single was released from the album, although it really didn't make much of a dent in the top 40 charts. That single was I'm The Slime, a song that only gets more relevant as time goes on. The song is basically a description of America's top drug of choice, as the opening lyrics make clear: "I am gross and perverted. I'm obsessed 'n deranged. I have existed for years, but very little has changed. I'm the tool of the government and industry too, for I am destined to rule and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, but you can't look away. I make you think I'm delicious, with the stuff that I say. I'm the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet? I'm the slime ooozing out of your TV set." Ironically, Zappa and his band performed the song on his first appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Artist:    Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina
Title:    Your Mama Don't Dance
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Loggins/Messina
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    Kenny Loggins was just 20 years old when he released the first of three singles for Snuff Garrett's Viva label in 1968. This led to a brief stint as guitarist for the "new, improved" Electric Prunes in 1969 before forming the band Gator Creek with fellow guitarist Mike Deasy, releasing one album on the Mercury label. In 1970 he met up with Jim Messina, who had become an independent record producer following his runs with Buffalo Springfield and Poco. The two of them began recording some of Loggin's tunes for a proposed Loggins solo LP that eventually turned into the first Loggins and Messina LP, officially titled Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. The two began touring together to promote the album and soon decided to officially become a duo, releasing the album Loggins And Messina in 1972. The album included Your Mama Don't Dance, a tune that they wrote together that became their biggest hit single, going into the top 5 in early 1973.

Artist:    Curtis Mayfield
Title:    Beautiful Brother Of Mine
Source:    CD: The Anthology 1961-1977 (originally released on LP: Roots)
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    MCA (original label: Curtom)
Year:    1971
    Throughout the 1960s, R&B was dominated by singers and vocal groups like Aretha Franklin, the Supremes and the Temptations. Curtis Mayfield, the lead singer of the Impressions, was much more than that, which became more evident after he left the group he had led for nearly a decade in 1970 for a solo career. By the time his third album, Roots, was released in 1971, Mayfield had established a sound described by one critic as "rumbling funk", which is on full display on Beautiful Brother Of Mine. Held down by a powerful bass line, the elaborately produced piece carries a message of black pride that would characterize Mayfield's work as a solo artist.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Hawaiian Sellout
Source:    LP: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Among the many short sections of TV shows that George Tirebiter tunes in on the album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers is Hawaiian Sellout, a bit that parodies 1960s game shows, with the humor coming from the absurdity of the prizes that the contestant has won so far. This sort of sketch humor would become the staple of actual TV shows like Saturday Night Live and Second City TV in the 1970s, as well as movies like Tunnel Vision and the Groove Tube.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Leavin' Again
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    There are several similarities between Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown. Both started out recording covers of American blues artists almost exclusively. Both were originally led by talented guitarists (Peter Green and Kim Simmonds, respectively) whose first love was very obviously the blues. Both bands ended up going through many lineup changes over the years, as they slowly became more rock-oriented. That's where the similarity ends, however. Whereas Green decided to leave Fleetwood Mac altogether following the 1969 LP Then Play On, Simmonds instead tightened his reins on the group in order to keep them rooted in the blues, aided in his efforts by lead vocalist Chris Youlden. After Youlden left the group for a solo career, however, the remaining band members asserted their desire to play more rock, as can be heard on tracks like Leavin' Again, from the 1970 album Looking In. Simmonds, however, wasn't having any of it and dismissed the entire band following the release of Looking In and hiring several members of Chicken Shack to continue in a more blues-oriented direction. As for the dismissed members of Savoy Brown (Dave Peverett, Roger Earl and Tone Stevens), they went off and formed their own band: Foghat.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Michael Bloomfield/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Blues For Nothing
Source:    CD: Super Session (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1995
    Blues For Nothing was left off the original Super Session LP, presumably due to lack of space, or possibly a desire by Producer Al Kooper to maintain a balance between the guitar work of Michael Bloomfield on side one of the LP and Stephen Stills on side two.  Basically it's a blues instrumental played by four outstanding musicians that's available as a bonus track on the CD version of Super Session. That's good enough for me.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    Rock My Plimsoul
Source:    LP: Truth
Writer(s):    Stewart/Beck
Label:    Epic
Year:    1968
    Working with producer Mickie Most, Jeff Beck released three singles after leaving the Yardbirds before getting to work on his first LP, Truth. Following a similar pattern as the Yardbirds, the A sides of these singles were designed to get played on top 40 radio (which in England meant BBC Radio 1), while the B sides were given over to the artists to do what they wanted with them. In Beck's case that meant rocking out on tunes like Rock My Plimsoul, a song loosely based on B.B. King's Rock Me Baby, featuring Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass and Ainsley Dunbar on drums. Beck re-recorded the tune, this time with Micky Waller on drums, for the Truth album.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2204 (starts 1/17/22)

    One of the most popular terms of the psychedelic era was "far out", an adjective used to describe....well, just about everything at one time or another. This week's show definitely fits the bill. In our first segment alone we have tunes from the legendary Charlatans (recorded but not released in 1967) and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, not to mention one of the only rock songs about cannibalism to make the top 40 charts. Also in our first hour: the first song from the first side of the first King Crimson album, and the last single released by the original Love, as well as a Jeff Beck/Rod Stewart version of a Willie Dixon tune using an arrangement that was pretty much copied by Led Zeppelin a year later. It's the second hour, though, that really gets weird, as we present a track from the Merry Pranksters' legendary underground LP The Acid Test featuring Kens Kesey and Babbs tripping their brains out. And toward the end of the show we sneak in the single released by Big Brother And The Holding Company by their original label while they were already working on Cheap Thrills. Pretty far out, huh?

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    In their early days as an L.A. club band, the Doors supplemented their growing body of original material with covers of classic blues tunes (rather than covers of top 40 hits like many of their contemporaries). Perhaps best of these was Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, which had been a mid-50s R&B hit for Howlin' Wolf. The Doors themselves certainly thought so, as it was one of only two cover songs on their debut LP.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Bryant
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    One of the more popular posters of the pyschedelic era took the phrase Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes and highlighted the letters P,E,A,C and E with colors that, when viewed under a black light, stood out from the rest of the text. At around the same time a movie came out with a similar title. Quite possibly both were inspired by a track from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band's late 1967 LP Volume II. The song itself is either really cool or really pretentious. I've had a copy of it for over 30 years and still haven't figured out which.

Artist:    Charlatans
Title:    Alabama Bound
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer:    trad., arr. The Charlatans
Label:    Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1996
    Despite being one of the most important bands on the San Francisco scene, the Charlatans did not have much luck in the recording studio. Their first sessions were aborted, the planned LP for Kama Sutra was shelved by the label itself, and the band was overruled in their choice of songs to be released on their first (and only) single issued from the Kama Sutra sessions. In 1967, however, they did manage to get some decent tracks recorded. Unfortunately, those tracks were not released until 1996, and then only in the UK. The centerpiece of the 1967 sessions was this six-and-a-half minute recording of a traditional tune that is considered by many to be the Charlatans' signature song: Alabama Bound.

Artist:    Bee Gees
Title:    I Close My Eyes
Source:    CD: Bee Gees 1st
Writer(s):    Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Label:    Reprise (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Most of the 14 songs on the 1967 LP Bee Gees 1st were credited to brothers Barry and Robin Gibb. The other three, however, including I Close My Eyes, include the third Gibb brother, Maurice's name in the songwriting credits. All of the Gibb brothers have said, however, that Maurice helped write most of the songs on the LP, including all three hit singles (New York Mining Disaster, To Love Somebody, and Holiday).

Artist:    Classics IV
Title:    Spooky
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Sharpe/Middlebrooks/Buie/Cobb
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1967
    Most people don't know this (it was news to me too), but the Halloween classic Spooky, by the Classics IV, was orginally an instrumental. The tune was written by saxophonist Mike Sharpe, with Harry Middlebrooks, Jr. and released by Sharpe in 1967, making it to the #57 on the Billboard charts. Late in the year, Classics IV guitarist J. R. Cobb and producer Buddy Buie came up with lyrics for the song in time to get the song recorded and released by Halloween, and the band scored their first top 40 hit with the song, featuring drummer Dennis Yost on lead vocals. The Classics IV continued to hit the top 40 charts into the early 1970s, with Yost moving out from behind the drum kit and taking over top billing (See? Phil Collins wasn't the first to do that!), while Cobb and Buie, as a side project, formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1970. Finally, in 1975, Yost officially went solo, ending the story of the Classics IV.

Artist:    Buoys
Title:    Timothy
Source:    LP: Harmony (original label: Scepter)
Writer(s):    Rupert Holmes
Label:    RCA Special Products (original label: Scepter)
Year:    1970
    Rupert Holmes wrote the 1970 song Timothy, dealing with cannibalism, specifically to get banned from top 40 radio, thus giving him a measure of notoriety. What he didn't bargain for, however, was the song becoming a hit single anyway, despite the best efforts of the shirts at Scepter Records to convince everyone that "Timothy" was in fact, a mule, and not one of the miners caught in a cave-in. Holmes himself set the record straight in an interview, but by that time the song had hit the #17 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Holmes had intended the song to be recorded by a band called the Glass Prism, who had released an album of Edgar Allan Poe's poetry set to music the previous year. The Glass Prism, however, was under contract to RCA Victor, and was unavailable to record the song. Instead, Holmes chose the Buoys, a band from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who had been signed to, and then virtually ignored by, the New York-based Scepter Records. Holmes, who played keyboards on the song, went on to write several more songs for the Buoys, all of which were from the point of view of someone who had committed some sort of crime. Holmes ended up becoming more famous, in the long run, for a song called Escape (The Piña Colada Song) that he released under his own name in 1979.

Artist:     King Crimson
Title:     21st Century Schizoid Man
Source:     CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Writer:     Fripp/McDonald/Lake/Giles/Sinfield
Label:     Discipline Global Mobile (original US label: Atlantic)
Year:     1969
     There are several bands with a legitimate claim to starting the prog-rock movement of the mid-70s. The one most musicians cite as the one that started it all, however, is King Crimson. Led by Robert Fripp, the band went through several personnel changes over the years. Many of the members went on to greater commercial success as members of other bands, including guitarist/keyboardist Ian McDonald (Foreigner), and lead vocalist/bassist Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) from the original lineup heard on In The Court Of The Crimson King. Additionally, poet Peter Sinfield, who wrote all King Crimson's early lyrics, would go on to perform a similar function for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, including their magnum opus Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends. Other original members included Michael Giles on drums and Fripp himself on guitar. 21st Century Schizoid Man, as the first song on the first album by King Crimson, can quite literally be cited as the song that got the whole thing started.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    You Shook Me
Source:    CD: Truth
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Led Zeppelin has often been accused of stealing riffs, lyrics and sometimes entire songs from other artists. After hearing Jeff Beck's 1968 recording of Willie Dixon's You Shook Me, from the album Truth with Rod Stewart on vocals, you can add arrangements to the list.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    See Emily Play
Source:    Mono CD: An Introduction To Syd Barrett (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Following up on their first single, Arnold Layne, Pink Floyd found even greater chart success (at least in their native England) with See Emily Play. Released in June of 1967, the song went all the way to the #6 spot on the British charts. In the US the song failed to chart as a single, although it was included on the US version of Pink Floyd's debut LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The "Emily" in question is reportedly the sculptor Emily Young, who in those days was known as the "psychedelic schoolgirl" at London's legendary UFO club.
Artist:     Mothers of Invention
Title:     Hungry Freaks, Daddy
Source:     LP: Mothermania (originally releasedd on LP: Freak Out)
Writer:     Frank Zappa
Label:     Zappa (original label: Verve)
Year:     1966
     Hungry Freaks, Daddy is the opening track on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! This alone would make the track historically significant, but the truth of the matter is that Hungry Freaks, Daddy is an excellent song in its own right. Unlike most socially aware songs up to that point in time, Hungry Freaks, Daddy has a decidedly satirical edge that would become a trademark of Frank Zappa's songwriting for years to come.

Artist:     Rose Garden
Title:     Here's Today
Source:     Mono CD: Where the Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as a 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Noreen/Vickery
Label:     Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:     1968
     One of many new groups signed to Atco in the late 60s, the Rose Garden was generally disposed to recording light pop tunes with radio airplay in mind. Here's Today was an attempt to move the group in a slightly different direction.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Your Mind And We Belong Together
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1968
    The last record to be released by the classic Love lineup of Arthur Lee, Ken Forssi, Johnny Echols, Bryan MacLean and Michael Stuart was a single, Your Mind And We Belong Together. Although released in 1968, the song is very much the same style as the 1967 album Forever Changes. A bonus track on the Forever Changes CD shows Lee very much in command of the recording sessions, calling for over two dozen takes before getting an acceptable version of the song. The song serves as a fitting close to the story of one of the most influential, yet overlooked, bands in rock history...or would have, if Lee had not tried to revive the band with new members several times over the next several decades.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    No Expectations
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    After the heavy dose of studio effects on Their Satanic Majesties Request, the Rolling Stones took a back-to-basics approach for their next album, Beggar's Banquet, the first to be produced by Jimmy Miller (who had previously worked with Steve Winwood in Traffic and the Spencer Davis Group). No Expectations, the second track on the album, uses minimal instrumentation and places a greater emphasis on Mick Jagger's vocals and Brian Jones's slide guitar work. Sadly, it was to be Jones's last album as a member of the Rolling Stones, as heavy drug use was already taking its toll (and would soon take his life as well).

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Wrong
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    Sean Bonniwell was a member of the mainstream (i.e. lots of appearances on TV variety shows hosted by people like Perry Como and Bob Hope) folk group the Lamplighters in the early 60s. By 1966 he had morphed into one of the more mysterious figures on the LA music scene, leading a proto-punk band dressed entirely in black. Bonniwell himself wore a single black glove (Michael Jackson was about seven years old at the time), and was one of the most prolific songwriters of the day. His recordings, often featuring the distinctive Farfisa organ sound, were a primary influence on later L.A. bands such as Iron Butterfly and the Doors. A classic example of the Music Machine sound was the song Wrong, which was issued as the B side of the group's most successful single, Talk Talk.

Artist:    Merry Pranksters, featuring Ken Kesey & Ken Babbs
Title:    One-Way Ticket (A Classic)
Source:    Mono LP: The Acid Trip
Writer(s):    Babbs/Kesey
Label:    Jackpot (originally released independently)
Year:    1966
    As a general rule, Americans in 1966 had a limited number of options when it came to buying recorded music, and nearly all of those options involved record companies. In San Francisco, however, something different was happening. People like Country Joe McDonald were putting out their own recorded works in various forms, such as a music and arts magazine (although perhaps "underground newspaper" is a better description) called Rag Baby. New, independent recording studios were opening up as well, including Sound City, which invited Ken Kesey and his fellow Merry Pranksters to come over and record whatever they wanted to. Kesey, his friend Ken Babbs and the gang showed up on January 29, 1966 and spent the next 14 hours tripping their brains out and recording everything they did. The results were edited down to LP length and circulated independently on the streets of San Francisco as an album called The Acid Test. One of the highlights of the album is Babbs riffing vocally on something called One-Way Ticket (subtitled A Classic). Babbs, in his recent book Cronies, says that the Pranksters were too young to be beatniks, but too old to be hippies". One-Way Ticket certainly has a Beatnik vibe to it, albeit tinged with the contents of a sugar cube as well.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Minstrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle wrote (and sang lead on) most of the songs on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the group, thanks to the fact that one of the two songs he sang lead on, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), became a huge top 40 hit. It wasn't long before the official name of the band was changed to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status, leaving the First Edition far behind.

Artist:    White Room
Title:    Thoughts Of Yesterday
Source:    Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Rizzo/Finno
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Symbol)
Year:    1968
    Nobody seems to know much about the band that called itself White Room and put out a single called Thoughts Of Yesterday in 1968. Even a Google search only turns up the Cream song for which the band was probably named. If indeed White Room was even a band, or just a studio creation is unknown. What is known is that the single was released on the New York based Symbol label and was produced by Kerry St. Matthews for Saint Kerry Productions. We also know that both sides of the single were written by C. Rizzo and T. Finno, but have no idea what either songwriters' first names were. If you know anything about the band called White Room, feel free to drop me a line.

Artist:     Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Down By The River
Source:    LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Down By The River is one of four songs on the album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere that Neil Young wrote while running a fever of 103 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 39.5 degrees for people in civilized nations that use the Celsius, aka centrigrade, scale). By some strange coincidence, they are the four best songs on the album. I wish I could have been that sick in my days as a wannabe rock star.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:     LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer:     Clapton/Bruce/Brown
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     Only a handful of songs can truly be described as "iconic". Sunshine Of Your Love, with its often-imitated signature riff, the line-by-line trading off of lead vocals by Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton and one of the best-known lead guitar solos in rock history, certainly qualifies.
Artist:    Cream
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released in UK on LP: Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1966
    When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the band's original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1970 soundtrack album for the movie Homer that the studio version was finally released in the US. Unfortunately the compilers of that album left out the last 15 seconds or so from the original recording.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Take It Back
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    After seven years of serving in the Air Force liason office at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, my dad got transferred to Weisbaden Air Force Base in Germany. Standard practice at the time was for the married GI to go on ahead of the rest of the family and find a place to live "on the economy." My dad, already having quite a bit of time in the service, was able to instead get a spot in a place called Kastel, which was a group of WWII Panzer barracks near the city of Mainz that had been adapted for use by American military with families. When the rest of us arrived in August I was happily surprised to find that my dad, in addition to finding us a place to live, had bought a state-of-the-art Akai X-355 Tape Recorder using money he had won at Lotto, along with a pair of Koss headphones. I of course had to go to the Base Exchange to look for pre-recorded tapes. Already having experience with reel to reel machines, I knew that tapes recorded at 3 3/4 ips had more tape hiss than those recorded at 7 1/2 ips, so I was resolved to only buy tapes recorded at the faster speed. Unfortunately several albums I wanted were only available at the slower speed. The problem was resolved a year later when my dad finally got a Dual turntable to hook up to the tape recorded. I immediately went out and bought a reel of blank tape; the first album I made a copy of was Cream's Disraeli Gears. I would often fall asleep listening to that tape, which meant I ended up sleeping through the last songs on the album, including Take It Back. I must have done some kind of sleep learning, though, since to this day I can quote the lyrics of the entire song.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I'm Yours And I'm Hers
Source:    European import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    1969 was a big year for Johnny Winter. An article the previous year in Rolling Stone magazine referring to the "albino guitarist with long white hair causing a stir in the Southwest" had led to his album The Progressive Blues Experiment being picked up by Imperial Records for national distribution, which in turn led to Winters signing with Columbia, one of the world's largest and most influential record labels. His first album for Columbia, titled simply Johnny Winter, was a critical and commercial success, instantly putting him in the top tier of both blues and rock guitarists. The opening track of the LP was I'm Your And I'm Hers, a Johnny Winter original that utilized the talents of future Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer "Uncle" John Turner, both members of Johnny's band Winter at the time. This same lineup would record a second album for Columbia with Johnny's brother Edgar on keyboards and saxophone before being disbanded in favor of the group that was originally called the McCoys, but would soon come to be known as Johnny Winter And. 

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Coo Coo
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Peter Albin
Label:    Mainstream
Year:    1968
    Like most of the bands in the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s, Big Brother And The Holding Company had members who had already been part of the local folk music scene when they decided to go electric. Peter Albin, in particular, had established himself as a solo artist before joining the band, and, naturally, brought some of his repertoire with him. Perhaps the most popular of these tunes was a song called Coo Coo, that had also been in circulation under the title Jack Of Diamonds. Although there are existing recordings of the song prior to the Big Brother version, Albin took full credit for the tune, possibly due to his providing almost all new lyrics for the track. Coo Coo, recorded in Chicago in 1966, was not included on the group's first LP for Mainstream, instead being issued as a single in early 1968, around the same time Columbia Records was negotiating a buyout of Big Brother's contract with Mainstream. A reworked version of the tune with yet another set of new lyrics and a new musical bridge appeared later the same year on the band's Columbia debut LP, Cheap Thrills,  under the title Oh, Sweet Mary.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Manic Depression
Source:    Mono British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After miraculously surviving being shot point blank in the head (and then bayoneted in the back for good measure) in the Korean War (and receiving a Silver Star), my dad became somewhat of a minor celebrity in the early 50s, appearing on a handful of TV and radio game shows as a kind of poster boy for the Air Force. One result of this series of events was that he was able to indulge his fascination with a new technology that had been developed by the Germans during WWII: magnetic recording tape. He used his prize winnings to buy a Webcor tape recorder, which in turn led to me becoming interested in recording technology at an early age (I distinctly remember being punished for playing with "Daddy's tape recorder" without permission on more than one occasion). He did not receive another overseas assignment until 1967, when he was transferred to Weisbaden, Germany. As was the usual practice at the time, he went there a month or so before the rest of the family, and during his alone time he (on a whim, apparently) went in on a Lotto ticket with a co-worker and won enough to buy an Akai X-355 stereo tape recorder from a fellow serviceman who was being transferred out and did not want to (or couldn't afford to) pay the shipping costs of the rather heavy machine.The Akai was pretty much the state of the art in home audio technology at the time. The problem was that we did not have a stereo system to hook it into, so he bought a set of Koss headphones to go with it. Of course all of his old tapes were in storage (along with the old Webcor) back in Denver, so I decided that this would be a good time to start spending my allowance money on pre-recorded reel-to-reel tapes, the first of which was Are You Experienced by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The Akai had an auto-reverse system and I would lie on the couch with the headphones on to go to sleep every night listening to songs like Manic Depression. Is it any wonder I turned out like I did?

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid/Fisher
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as being the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. Fisher initially did not get writing credit for his contributions to the song, but finally, after several lawsuits, began collecting royalties for the song in 2009. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, incidentally, holds the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves over the past 70+ years.