Saturday, February 26, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2210 (start 2/28/22)


    Lots of artists' sets again this week, including Cream, Love and a Jefferson Airplane set from their first LP. Also, the seldom heard US album version of the Beatles' Help (complete with orchestral introduction, even)! And, as an added bonus, a finishing track that was literally light years (4.37 to be exact) away from anything else being recorded in 1971.

Artist:    Critters
Title:    Mr. Diengly Sad
Source:    CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Don Ciccone
Label:    Era (original label: Kapp)
Year:    1966
    The Critters were formed when Don Ciccone, who sang and played guitar, and saxophonist Bob Podstawski joined a New Jersey band called the Vibratones in 1964, transforming them from an instrumental group into one of the first American bands to compete directly with the British Invasion bands. The band soon released their first single on the Musicor label, switching to Kapp Records the following year. Mr. Diengly Sad became the group's only top 20 hit, peaking at #17 as the summer of 1966 was coming to a close. The group split up in 1968, and after a stint in the military Ciccone joined the 4 Seasons for awhile (temporarily replacing Frankie Valli, who had left the group for a solo career), and later toured with Tommy James And The Shondells. Eventually Ciccone formed a new incarnation of the Critters in 2007, releasing an album called Time Pieces that included updated versions of their first top 40 hit, Younger Girl, and a slightly retitled Mr. Dyingly Sad. Don Ciccone passed away on October 8, 2016 at the age of 70 after suffering a heart attack.
Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Caroline No
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    According to lyricist Peter Asher, Caroline No was written because Brian Wilson was "saddened to see how sweet little girls turned out to be kind of bitchy, hardened adults". Though the song was originally included on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, it ended up being the only single ever released by Capitol credited to Brian Wilson as a solo artist.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Thru The Rhythm
Source:    CD: The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
Writer(s):    Sutherland/Hall
Label:    Collectables (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1966
    The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators was reportedly recorded while the entire band was tripping on LSD, making it the first known example of acid rock to be released on vinyl. The album was also (arguably) the first rock album to include the word psychedelic in its title. The 13th Floor Elevators were formed by vocalist Roky Erickson, guitarist Stacy Sutherland and electric juggist Tommy Hall, who also provided lyrics for the group's original compositions such as Thru The Rhythm. Hearing is believing.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes' biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from their record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow?
Source:    Mono CD: Flowers
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 there was a population explosion of teenage rock bands popping up in garages and basements all across the US, the majority of which were doing their best to emulate the grungy sound of their heroes, the Rolling Stones. The Stones themselves responded by ramping up the grunge factor to a previously unheard of degree with their last single of the year, Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? It was the most feedback-laden record ever to make the top 40 at that point in time, and it inspired America's garage bands to buy even more powerful amps and crank up the volume (driving their parents to buy more potent alcoholic beverages in the process).
Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bayer/Carr/D'errico
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("calls out my name" in place of "comes up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practitioner.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I Ain't Done Wrong
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released in US on LP: For Your Love)
Writer(s):    Keith Relf
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    I Ain't Done Wrong is the only track on the Yardbirds' US debut album For Your Love that was actually written by a member of the Yardbirds. To help understand how something like this might come about I have a short history lesson for you. Record albums have been around nearly as long as recorded music itself, albeit in a form that would be pretty much unrecognizable to modern listeners. The first record albums were collections of several 78 RPM discs in paper sleeves bound between hard covers, similar to photo albums (which is where the name came from). By the end of the 1940s the most popular albums featured single artists such as Frank Sinatra or the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Classical music, however, suffered from this format, since a typical 10" 78 RPM record could hold only about three and a half minutes of music per side. Even using 12" discs that could hold up to seven minutes' worth of music meant breaking up longer pieces into segments, which pretty much ruined the listening experience. Around 1948 or so, Columbia Records (US), the second largest record label in the world, unveiled the long play (LP) record, which could hold about 20 minutes per side with far superior sound quality to the 78s of the day. The format was immediately embraced by classical music artists and listeners alike. It wasn't long before serious jazz artists began to take advantage of the format as well. Popular music, however, was still very much oriented toward single songs, known then as the Hit Parade. This remained the case throughout the first wave of rock 'n' roll in the 1950s, with the new 45 RPM format serving as a direct replacement for 78s. LPs, being more expensive, were targeted to a more affluent audience than 45s were. The few LPs that did appear by popular artists often contained one or two of that artist's hit singles (and B sides), along with several "filler" tracks that were usually covers of songs made popular by other artists. In 1963, however, something interesting happened. An album called With The Beatles was released in the UK. What made this album unique is that it did not include any of the band's hit singles, instead featuring 14 newly recorded tracks. Such was the popularity of the Fab Four that their fans bought enough copies of With The Beatles to make it a hit record in its own right. This led to other British bands following a similar pattern of mutual exclusivity between album and single tracks. One of these bands was the Yardbirds, who had released a pair of singles in 1964. None of these songs had appeared on an album in the UK (the band had, however, released an LP called Five Live Yardbirds that had failed to chart). Then, in 1965, they hit it big with the international hit single For Your Love, which prompted their US label, Epic, to released a Yardbirds LP of the same name. There was, however, one small problem. Guitarist Eric Clapton had just quit the Yardbirds, complaining of the band's move toward more commercial material (such as For Your Love itself, a song which he had recorded under protest); his replacement, Jeff Beck, had only been with the band long enough to record three songs, none of which had yet been released. Epic, however, wanted to get a Yardbirds LP out while For Your Love was still hot, and ended up using all three Beck tracks, as well as the band's previously released British singles (plus two songs of uncertain origins), on the album. Two of the three Beck recordings were blues covers, making the third song, Keith Relf's I Ain't Done Wrong, the only original tune on the album (For Your Love came from an outside songwriter, Graham Gouldman).Since most of the tracks on the LP were already available in the UK, For Your Love was never issued there; the three Beck tracks did appear later that year, however, on a new EP called Five Yardbirds.
Artist:    Saturday's Children
Title:    Man With Money
Source:    CD: Oh Yeah! The Best Of Dunwich Records (originally released on LP: Early Chicago)
Writer(s):    Phil & Don Everly
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Happy Tiger)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1971
    Although two of its three founders were jazz musicians, Chicago's Dunwich Records is best known for its release of singles by the region's most popular teen-oriented dance bands of the time. The first of these, a cover of Van Morrison's by the suburban Shadows Of Knight, was also the most successful, going into the top 10 on the national charts in 1966. More releases by local Chicago-area bands followed, including three by Saturday's Children, a popular group that patterned itself after the Beatles rather than the Rolling Stones. A fourth, a cover of the 1965 Everly Brothers B side Man With Money, remained unreleased until 1971, when it appeared on an album called Early Chicago. By then, Dunwich had ceased to exist as a record label and the LP appeared on the Happy Tiger label instead.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    San Franciscan Nights
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    Sire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    In late 1966, after losing several original members over a period of about a year, the original Animals disbanded. Eric Burdon, after releasing one single as a solo artist (but using the Animals name), decided to form a "new" Animals. After releasing a moderately successful single, When I Was Young, the new band appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. While in the area, the band fell in love with the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, during what came to be called the Summer Of Love. The first single to be released from their debut album, Winds Of Change, was a tribute to the city by the bay called San Franciscan Nights. Because of the topicality of the song's subject matter, San Franciscan Nights was not released in the UK as a single. Instead, the song Good Times (which was the US B side of the record), became the new group's biggest UK hit to date (and one of the Animals' biggest UK hits overall). Eventually San Franciscan Nights was released as a single in the UK as well (with a different B side) and ended up doing quite well.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sleepy Time Time
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was first formed, both Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker worked with co-writers on original material for the band.  Bruce worked with his wife, Janet Godfrey, while Baker's partner was poet Pete Brown. Eventually Bruce and Brown began collaborating, creating some of Cream's most memorable songs, but not before Bruce and Godfrey wrote Sleepy Time Time, one of the high points of the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    World Of Pain
Source:    Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Whereas the first Cream LP was made up of mostly blues-oriented material, Disraeli Gears took a much more psychedelic turn, due in large part to the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. The Bruce/Brown team was not, however, the only source of material for the band. Both Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker made contributions, as did Cream's unofficial fourth member, keyboardist/producer Felix Pappalardi, who, along with his wife Janet Collins, provided World Of Pain.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    N.S.U.
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    Although most of Jack Bruce's Cream songs were co-written with lyricist Pete Brown, there were some exceptions. Among the most notable of these is N.S.U. from Cream's debut LP, which features Bruce's own lyrics. The song, also released as a B side, has proven popular enough to be included on several Cream retrospective collections and was part of the band's repertoire when they reunited for a three-day stint at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and, for a breath of fresh air, a bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Now I Taste The Tears
Source:    Mono CD: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer(s):    Clifford
Label:    See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    The second LP from the Beacon Street Union, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens, was a departure from the sound of the band's first album. If anything, it featured an even more eclectic mix of songs than The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, including the humorous King of the Jungle and a nearly 17 minute version of Baby, Please Don't Go. The band took an R&B turn with the closing track on side one of the LP, Now I Taste The Tears, which features a horn section led by band member Robert Rhodes.

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:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Quicksilver Girl
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sailor)
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Steve Miller moved to San Francisco from Chicago (by way of Texas) and was reportedly struck by what he saw as a much lower standard of musicianship in the bay area than in the windy city. Miller's response was to form a band that would conform to Chicago standards. The result was the Steve Miller Band, one of the most successful of the San Francisco bands, although much of that success would not come until the mid-1970s, after several personnel changes. One feature of the Miller band is that it featured multiple lead vocalists, depending on who wrote the song. Miller himself wrote and sings on Quicksilver Girl, from the band's second LP, Sailor.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Source:    CD: The Inner Mystique
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    The first Chocolate Watchband album, No Way Out, sold well enough to warrant a follow-up LP, The Inner Mystique. The only problem was that by the end of 1967 there was no Chocolate Watchband left to record it, although there were a few unreleased recordings in the vaults. Unfazed, producer Ed Cobb once again turned to studio musicians to fill out the album. One of the few actual Watchband recordings on The Inner Mystique was this cover of the Kinks' I'm Not Like Everybody Else, which had appeared as a B side a couple years earlier. This song, along with their cover of I Ain't No Miracle Worker, almost made the album worth buying. In fact, enough people did indeed buy The Inner Mystique to warrant a third and final Watchband album, but by then the group had reformed with almost entirely different personnel and the resulting album, One Step Beyond, actually sounds less like the original group than all those studio musicians did.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Thru #2
Source:    LP: Absolutely Live
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1970
    The first live Doors album had a close relationship to controversy without itself being particularly controversial. The double LP was made up of performances from the Absolutely Live tour between July of 1969 and June of 1970. At the time the album was released, producer Paul Rothchild claimed that he had to make "over 1000" edits to get acceptable takes of the songs, including splicing part of one performance into part of another. In recent years, however, this claim has been disproven by the Bright Midnight record company, which has issued uncut masters of all of the performances in question over a total of 22 CDs. Audio proofs made by comparing these uncut masters with the original album tracks show there there were fewer than five major edits on the entire album, none of them on the songs themselves. A more personal controversy erupted at the time the album was released over the cover art, which was modified by the record label to include a picture of singer Jim Morrison that did not reflect his 1970 look. None of the band members approved the change from the original artwork, which was a single image of the band in concert against a blue background. Of course, that particular period in time was somewhat controversial for the band itself, as they were experiencing the aftermath of Morrison's arrest for onstage obscenity in Miami, Florida. As a result, the album did not do all that well in record stores, selling only about half as many copies as their most recent studio LP, Morrison Hotel. The CD reissue of the album breaks down the individual tracks differently than the original LPs; Break On Thru #2, for instance, is divided into two tracks: Dead Cats, Dead Rats and Break On Through (To The Other Side). The two pieces were actually one continuous performance recorded in Detroit in 1970.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Bringing Me Down
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    One of several singles released mainly to San Francisco Bay area radio stations and record stores, Bringing Me Down is an early collaboration between vocalist Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin had invited Kantner into the band without having heard him play a single note. It turned out to be one of many savvy decisions by the young bandleader.
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    It's No Secret
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1966
     Released in March of 1966, It's No Secret was an instant hit on San Francisco Bay area radio stations. This version differs from the album version released six months later in that it has a fade out ending and is thus a few seconds shorter. 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:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Dino Valenti
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    Although Dino Valenti recorded a demo version of his song Let's Get Together in 1964, it wasn't until two years later that the song made its first appearance on vinyl as a track on Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The Airplane version of the song is unique in that the lead vocals alternate between Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and Marty Balin, with each one taking a verse and all of them singing on the chorus.

Artist:    Mamas and the Papas
Title:    Somebody Groovy
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM B side)
Writer:    John Phillips
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    The Mamas and the Papas were blessed with strong vocals and even stronger songwriting. Their debut single, California Dreamin', written by John & Michelle Phillips, is one of the defining songs of the mid-sixties. The B side of that single, released in 1965, was another John Phillips tune, Somebody Groovy.

Artist:    Davie Allan And The Arrows
Title:    The Chase
Source:    LP: The Wild Angels (soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Curb/Allan/Brown
Label:    Tower
Year:    1966
    Davie Allen is best known for providing music for the soundtracks of several teen-oriented and biker movies from the 1960s. Allan grew up in the San Fernando Valley of California, where he met Mike Curb, with whom he would form an instrumental surf band. Curb, who had a keen business sense, formed his own Curb Records label in 1963, issuing Allan's first single, War Path. Allan played on several other singles for Curb as a session guitarist, both on the Curb label and its successor, Sidewalk Records. Around that same time Curb made a deal with Roger Corman's American International Pictures to supply music for the director's youth-oriented films. This led to the formation of the Arrows, a loose aggregation of studio musicians that Allan would utilize for various projects. Most of the Arrows' early recordings were fairly unremarkable, although they did get some local L.A. radio airplay for a song called Apache '65. Allan's big break came when he acquired a fuzz box for his guitar, using it for his most famous recording, Blue's Theme from the film The Wild Angels. Most of Allan's contributions to the film's soundtrack were short instrumental pieces like The Chase. The film itself is notable for its cast, which included Peter Fonda, Nancy Sinatra and Bruce Dern, among others.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice
Source:    German import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1967
    The fourth single released in Europe and the UK by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was 1967's Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, which appeared in stereo the following year on the album Electric Ladyland. The B side of that single was a strange bit of psychedelia called The Stars That Play With Laughing Sam's Dice, which is also known in some circles as STP With LSD. The piece features Hendrix on guitar and vocals, with background sounds provided by a cast of at least dozens. Hendrix's vocals are, throughout much of the track, spoken rather than sung, and resemble nothing more than a cosmic travelogue with Hendrix himself as the tour guide. The original mono mix of the track has never been released in the US, which is a shame, since it is the only version where Jimi's vocals dominate the mix, allowing his somewhat whimsical sense of humor to shine through.

Artist:    Wildwood
Title:    Plastic People
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    F. Colli
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Magnum)
Year:    1968
    Stockton, California's Wildwood only released two singles, both in 1968. The first of these, Plastic People, takes a somewhat cynical view of the Flower Power movement, which had by 1968 pretty much run its course. Musically the track owes much to Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Help!
Source:    CD: Help!
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    One of the best-known songs of all time, Help! was the name of the second Beatles movie as well as the accompanying LP. In the UK, the LP contained songs from the film itself on the first side and a collection of new Beatles recordings on the second. In the US, however, Capitol Records chose to treat it purely as a soundtrack album, with incidental music from the film interspersed between the seven Beatles songs from the film itself. The album opens with a James Bond-ian bit of music that leads into the song Help! This version is not available in stereo these days except on expensive CD box sets.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    The top album of 1967 was the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was also the first US Beatles album to have a song lineup that was identical to the original UK LP. As such, it was also the first Beatles album released in the US to not include any songs that were also released as singles. Nonetheless, several tracks from the LP found their way onto the playlists of both top 40 AM and "underground" FM stations from coast to coast. Among the most popular of these tracks was John Lennon's Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, which shows up on just about everyone's list of classic psychedelic tunes.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Another Girl
Source:    LP: Help!
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    A few years ago I picked up a DVD collection of every Beatles song that has video or film footage to go with it, including all the songs used in the film Help! One of my favorites in Paul McCartney's Another Girl. In the film, McCartney is seen standing behind a girl in a bikini playing air guitar (using her right arm as a guitar neck). Luckily, he wasn't finger picking.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Softly To Me
Source:     Mono CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer:     Bryan McLean
Label:     Rhino/Elektra)
Year:     1966
     Bryan McLean's role as a songwriter in Love was similar to George Harrison's as a Beatle. He didn't have many songs on any particular album, but those songs were universally among the best tracks on the album. The first of these was Softly To Me from the band's debut LP. Before the signing of Love in 1966, Elektra was a folk and ethnic music label whose closest thing to a rock band was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which was at that time very much into creating as authentic Chicago blues sound as possible for a band from New York. Love, on the other hand, was a bona-fide rock band that was packing the clubs on the Sunset Strip nightly. To underscore the significance of the signing, Elektra started a whole new numbering series for Love's debut album.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    German import CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1966
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll, with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast (from the Elektra sound effects library) followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away. For years it has been speculated that Arthur Lee, rather than regular Love drummer Snoopy Pfisterer played drums on 7&7 Is, but Lee himself went on record as saying the drum parts on the song were indeed played by Pfisterer himself.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Red Telephone
Source:    CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Forever Changes)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Love's Forever Changes album, released in late 1967, is known for its dark imagery that contrasted with the utopian messages so prevalent in the music associated with the just-passed summer of love. One of the tracks that best illustrates Arthur Lee's take on the world at that time is The Red Telephone, which closes out side one of the album. The title, which refers to the famous cold war hotline between Washington and Moscow, does not actually appear in the song's lyrics. Instead, the most prominent line of the song is a chant repeated several times that refers to the repression of youth culture in the US, particularly in Los Angeles, where the city had enacted new ordinances that had virtually destroyed the vibrant club scene that had given rise to such bands as the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and of course Love. The chant itself: "They're locking them up today, they're throwing away the key; I wonder who it'll be tomorrow, you or me?" expresses an idea that would be expanded on by Frank Zappa the following year on the landmark Mothers Of Invention album We're Only In It For The Money.

Artist:    Tangerine Dream
Title:    Sunrise In The Third System
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in Germany on LP: Alpha Centauri)
Writer(s):    Tangerine Dream
Label:    Polydor (original label: Ohr)
Year:    1971
    Formed in 1967 as a psychedelic band in Berlin, Tangerine Dream soon came under the influence of Electronic music composer Thomas Keppler, who inspired the band's leader, Edgar Froese, to move in a more avant garde direction. By 1971 the band had added Chris Franke and Steve Schroeder, becoming almost entirely keyboard based in the process. The first album from this new lineup, Alpha Centauri, with tracks like Sunrise In The Third System, got the attention of British disc jockey John Peel, who promoted the band extensively on his radio show. Tangerine Dream has since gone on to become the most successful Electronic Rock band in history.

1 comment:

  1. great show last night. Thanks for your music and insight.