Sunday, March 27, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2214 (starts 3/28/22)

    This week's show has a bit of this and that. Sets from specific years, progressions (and regressions) through the years...that sort of thing. What it doesn't have is an artists' sets, but it does have an Advanced Psych segment that includes a brand-new track from Ivan Perilli's Sleep City Devils. The show begins with a California 1966 set...

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:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Luvin'
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much Too Dream (Last Night) (original LP title: The Electric Prunes)
Writer:    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Perhaps as a bit of overcompensation for his lack of control over the Grateful Dead, producer David Hassinger kept a tight rein on L.A.'s Electric Prunes, providing them with most of the material they recorded (from professional songwriters). One of the few exceptions is vocalist James Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin's Luvin', which was first released in November of 1966 as the B side of the Prunes' hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). The song was also included on the band's first LP the following year.
Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Rollin' Machine
Source:    LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    Is there anyone out there that really thinks this is a song about a car? Yeah, me either.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Dr. Stone
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Hey Joe)
Writer:    Beck/Pons
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves were a solid, if not particularly spectacular, example of a late 60s L.A. club band. They had one big hit (the fast version of Hey Joe), signed a contract with a major label (Capitol), and even appeared in a Hollywood movie (the Cool Ones). Their first album, which opens with the Bo Diddley flavored folk-rock original Dr. Stone, was issued on the local Mira label in 1966

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Down On Me
Source:     CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Joplin In Concert)
Writer:     Trad. Arr. Joplin
Label:     Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:     Recorded 1968, released 1972
     Big Brother And The Holding Company's first album, featuring the single Down On Me, was recorded in 1967 at the studios of Mainstream Records, a medium-sized Chicago label known for its jazz recordings. At the time, Mainstream's engineers had no experience with a rock band, particularly a loud one like Big Brother, and vainly attempted to clean up the band's sound as best they could. The result was an album full of bland recordings sucked dry of the energy that made Big Brother and the Holding Company one of San Francisco's top live attractions. Luckily we have this live version of the tune recorded in Detroit in early 1968 and released on the 1972 album Joplin In Concert that captures the band at their peak, before powerful people with questionable motives convinced singer Janis Joplin that the rest of the group was (ahem) holding her back.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Prelude/Nightmare
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Brown
Label:    Polydor (original UK label: Track)
Year:    1968
    One of rock's first "theatrical" performers, Arthur Brown first began to get noticed in Paris, where he spent a year developing his stage show and unique vocal style with his band the Arthur Brown Set, which was formed in 1965. On his return to England he joined up with keyboardist Vincent Crane. By 1967 the Vincent Crane Combo had changed its name to The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and was becoming a major force on London's underground music scene. In late 1967 the band went to work on their self-titled debut LP, which was released in the UK on the Track label in June of 1968. Spurred by the success of the single Fire, the album was picked up for American distribution by Atlantic Records that same year. The people at Atlantic, however, felt that the drums were a bit off and insisted on adding horns and strings to cover the deficiency. The result can be heard on tracks like Prelude/Nightmare, which opens the album.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    (Ballad Of The) Hip Death Goddess
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations. The recording has in more recent years been used by movie producers looking to invoke a late 60s atmosphere.

Artist:      David Bowie
Title:     Space Oddity
Source:      CD: Sound and Vision Sampler (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original US label: Mercury)
Year:     1969
     When David Jones first started his recording career he was a fairly conventional pop singer, even after changing his name to David Bowie (to avoid being confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees). After several failed attempts to establish himself, Bowie released a song called Space Oddity in July of 1969, less than two weeks before the Apollo 11 moon landing. The song got off to a slow start, but by October was a hit in the UK, going all the way into the top 5 on the British charts. It was, however, banned by several radio stations in the US, and only charted three years later when it was re-released by RCA Victor, becoming Bowie's first US top 20 hit. The mellotron heard in the song, incidentally, was played by none other than Rick Wakeman, who would go on to become a member of Yes and a successful solo artist in the 1970s.

Artist:     Flock
Title:     Tired Of Waiting For You
Source:     German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: The Flock)
Writer:     Ray Davies
Label:     CBS (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1969
     The Flock was one of those bands that made an impression on those who heard them perform but somehow were never able to turn that into massive record sales. Still, they left a pair of excellent LPs for posterity. The most notable track from the first album was their cover of the 1965 Kinks hit Tired Of Waiting For You, featuring solos at the beginning and end of the song from violinist Jerry Goodwin, who would go on to become a charter member of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra a couple years later.

Artist:    Koobas
Title:    Barricades
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released on LP: Koobas)
Writer(s):    Ellis/Stratton-Smith/Leathwood
Label:    EMI (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    The Koobas were a Merseybeat band that never managed to achieve the level of success enjoyed by bands such as the Beatles or Gerry and the Pacemakers, despite having the patronage of Beatles manager Brian Epstein and even appearing in the film Ferry Across The Mersey.  They did record several singles for both Pye and Columbia, but with little to show for it. Nonetheless, EMI, the parent company of Columbia, commissioned an entire album from the band in 1969. Among the standout tracks from that self-titled LP was the five-minute long Barricades, a track that starts with a Motown beat, but before long morphs into a chaotic portrait of riot and revolution, complete with anarchic sound effects.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Hitch Hike
Source:     Mono made in England for US distribution LP: Out of Our Heads
Writer(s):    Gaye/Paul/Stevenson
Label:     London
Year:     1965
     The Rolling Stones' early albums consisted of about a 50/50 mix of cover tunes and original tunes from the band members, primarily Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Marvin Gaye's Hitch Hike was one of the cover songs on the album Out of Our Heads, the same album that featured the #1 hit of 1965, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    I Ain't Marching Anymore
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1965
    Phil Ochs' I Ain't Marching Anymore didn't get a whole lot of airplay when it was released in 1965 (unless you count a handful of closed-circuit student-run stations on various college campuses that could only be picked up by plugging a radio into a wall socket in a dorm room). Ochs was aware of this, and even commented that "the fact that you won't be hearing this song on the radio is more than enough justification for the writing of it." He went on to say that the song "borders between pacifism and treason, combining the best qualities of both." The following year Ochs recorded this folk-rock version of the song (that reportedly includes contributions from members of the Blues Project) that was released as a single in the UK.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Flying High
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Any guesses to what a song called Flying High from an album called Electric Music For The Mind And Body by Country Joe And The Fish released in 1967 might be about? I thought not.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Love Help Me
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Evans
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    The first Deep Purple album is generally known more the band's reinterpretations of songs like Hush, Hey Joe and I'm So Glad than for the group's original material. In fact, not counting lengthy intro pieces for some of the covers, there were only two original standalone songs on the album. One of these was Love Help Me, written by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and vocalist Rod Evans.

Artist:    Lemon Pipers
Title:    Green Tambourine
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Green Tambourine)
Writer(s):    Leka/Pinz
Label:    Priority (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1967
    Originally known as Ivan And The Sabers, Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit. Making it even worse is the fact that, although the Lemon Pipers themselves were a real band that had been making recordings since 1964, they ended up being grouped in with several "bands" who were in fact studio creations by the Kazenetz/Katz production team that supplied Buddah with a steady stream of bubble-gum hits throughout 1968.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Rock And Roll Woman
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Buffalo Springfield did not sell huge numbers of records (except for the single For What It's Worth) while they were together. Nor did they pack in the crowds. As a matter of fact, when they played the club across the street from where Love was playing, they barely had any audience at all. Artistically, though, it's a whole 'nother story. During their brief existence Buffalo Springfield launched the careers of no less than four major artists: Richie Furay, Jim Messina, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. They also recorded more than their share of tracks that have held up better than most of what else was being recorded at the time. Case in point: Rock And Roll Woman, a Stephen Stills tune that still sounds fresh well over 50 years after it was recorded.

Artist:    Smithereens
Title:    Drown In My Own Tears
Source:    CD: Blown To Smithereens (originally released on LP: Green Thoughts and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pat DiNizio
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1988
    Drown In My Own Tears was the third single released from the Smithereens' second LP, Green Thoughts. The title of the song was borrowed from the 1956 Ray Charles hit, and has been referred to as one of vocalist/guitarist Pat DiNizio's "angst-filled odes to failed romance" (as one critic put it) that characterize the album itself.

Artist:    Big Boy Pete and The Squire
Title:    El Dorado Beach
Source:    CD: Hitmen
Writer(s):    Miller/Zajkowski
Label:    Rocket Racket
Year:    2013
    Once upon a time in England there was a singer/guitarist named Pete Miller, sometimes known as Big Boy Pete. For a time he was also the frontman for a group called Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers. That group disbanded in 1966, however, when Big Boy Pete came up with a batch of new songs that the rest of the band turned down. Miller went solo and the Jaywalkers were history. Flash forward to 2013. Rochester, NY's Chris Zajkowski (aka the Squire) and Big Boy Pete (now living in San Francisco), release a coast-to-coast collaboration album called Hitmen made up of reworked versions of the songs that the Jaywalkers rejected back in 1966. El Dorado Beach is one of those songs.

Artist:    Sleep City Devils
Title:    Creatures
Source:    Independently released by Ivan Perelli
Writer(s):    Ivan Perilli
Label:    none
Year:    2021
    As a result of our ongoing efforts to find new artists to feature on our occasional Advanced Psych segment, I was contacted by Ivan Perilli, who pointed me to non-compressed versions of several tracks from his latest project, Sleep City Devils, including the tune called Creatures. Billed as "an experimental thing", Sleep City Devils (1 band, 3 imaginary musicians, 4 songs) is the latest in a series of projects that also includes Happy Graveyard Orchestra and Banana Planets. According to Perilli's website, he also "just plays the bass" with Djoolio.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (at least not that they knew of), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. Meanwhile the original lineup changed their name but never had the opportunity to make records again.

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:    H.P. Lovecraft
Title:    That's The Bag I'm In
Source:    CD: Two Classic Albums From H.P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft)
Writer(s):    Fred Neil
Label:    Collector's Choice (original label: Philips)
Year:    1967
    The entire first side of H.P. Lovecraft's 1967 debut LP was made up of cover songs, done in a style that combined folk-rock and psychedelia, with a touch of the macabre, as inspired by the early 20th century author the band took its name from. Among those covers was a version of Fred Neil's That's The Bag I'm In that actually rocks a bit harder than the original. The group relocated to Marin County not long after the album was released and spent much of the next year opening for such acts as Jefferson Airplane, Donovan, Buffalo Springfield and others. After a second LP failed to chart the band, exhausted from constant touring, disbanded in 1969.

Artist:    Blossom Toes
Title:    Postcard
Source:    Mono British import CD: If Only For A Moment (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brian Godding
Label:    Sunbeam (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    England's Blossom Toes only released two albums during the four years they were together: The pop-psych We Are Ever So Clean (Oct 1967) and the much heavier rocker If Only For A Moment (July 1969). In between, they cut a pair of non-album singles, including Postcard, one of only two Blossom Toes recordings to feature multi-instrumentalist John "Poli" Palmer as the band's drummer. Although the record got good reviews from the British music press, it did not do well commercially, and Palmer, chafing at being stuck behind the drum kit, soon left the Blossom Toes to join Family.

Artist:    London Phogg
Title:    The Times To Come
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Colley/Henderson
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1969
    In a way it was a typical 60s dream come true. Local group (in this case the locality being Las Vegas) wins a battle of the bands, the prize being a trip to L.A. to record for a major record label (in this case Herb Alpert's A&M Records). Soon, though, the dream becomes a nightmare, as the band is not allowed to do much of anything but sing on their one shot at fame. Studio musicians are brought in to play all the instruments on a song written by professional songwriters (one of which was the record's producer, Keith Colley). The record, a tune called The Times To Come, is of course a flop. The band returns home to Las Vegas, never to be heard from again.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Zilch
Source:    CD: Headquarters
Writer(s):    Jones/Nesmith/Tork/Dolenz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    From a creative standpoint, the highpoint of the Monkees' career as a band was the Headquarters album, which topped the album charts for one week in late spring of 1967 before being toppled by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Unlike the previous and subsequent Monkees albums, Headquarters featured a minimum of outside musicians, and was under the total creative control of the Monkees themselves, even to the hiring of Chip Douglas as producer. Although most of the tracks on Headquarters were penned by professional songwriters, a few were written by the band itself, including Zilch, which is sort of a spoken word version of a Round (except everyone is saying something different).

Artist:    Cuby + Blizzards
Title:    Your Body Not Your Soul
Source:    Dutch import 45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    Muskee/Gelling
Label:    Universal/Music On Vinyl (original label: Philips)
Year:    1966
    In the Netherlands it was a given that if you wanted to hear some live blues you needed to check out Cuby and the Blizzards. Led by vocalist Harry "Cuby" Muskee and lead guitarist Eelco Gelling, C+B, as they were known to their fans, had been in a couple of local bands as early as 1962, but had made a decision to abandon rock 'n' roll for a more blues/R&B approach in 1964. After cutting a single for the small CNR label in 1965, C+B signed a long-term contract with Philips the following year. Your Body Not Your Soul, the B side of their first single for the label, shows the influence of British blues/R&B bands such as the Pretty Things and the Animals. The group hit the Dutch top 40 nine times between 1967 and 1971, and released several well received albums as well.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Tombstone Blues
Source:    CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    One of the most influential albums in rock history was Bob Dylan's 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. Although he had experimented with adding electric guitar, bass and drums to some of the songs on his previous album, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited was his first LP to feature electric instruments on every track. Of these, the most notable was probably the guitar work of Michael Bloomfield, who would soon come to prominence as lead guitarist for the Butterfield Blues Band. Bloomfield's work is most prominent on blues-based tracks such as Tombstone Blues, which follows the classic Like A Rolling Stone on side one of the original LP.

Artist:     Cyrkle
Title:     Cloudy
Source:     Mono LP: Red Rubber Ball
Writer:     Simon/Woodley
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     The Cyrkle were more than one-hit wonders. They were two-hit wonders, with both Red Rubber Ball (written by Paul Simon and the Seekers' Bruce Woodley) and Turn Down Day making the top 5. Despite having a high-profile manager (Brian Epstein), being an opening act for the Beatles (on their last US tour) and being signed to a major label (Columbia), they were unable to follow-up on the success of their first two hits. Perhaps it was simply a bad case of timing: their clean-cut image (and sound, as can be heard on tracks like Cloudy) was perfectly suited to the years 1963-66, but was clearly becoming dated by 1967.
Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Summer In The City
Source:    LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Sebastian/Boone
Label:    Sundazed/Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful changed gears completely for what would become their biggest hit of 1966: Summer In The City. Inspired by a poem by John Sebastian's brother, the song was recorded for the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. That album was an attempt by the band to deliberately record in a variety of styles; in the case of Summer In The City, it was a rare foray into psychedelic rock for the band. Not coincidentally, Summer In The City is also my favorite Lovin' Spoonful song.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    N.S.U.
Source:    British import: Cream (an expanded version of Fresh Cream)
Writer(s):    Jack Bruce
Label:    Polydor (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:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Work Song
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Adderly/Brown
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Although technically not a rock album, the Butterfield Blues Band's East-West was nonetheless a major influence on many up and coming rock musicians that desired to transcend the boundaries of top 40 radio. Both the title track and the band's reworking of Nat Adderly's Work Song feature extended solos from all the band members, with Work Song in particular showing Butterfield's prowess on harmonica, as well as helping cement Michael Bloomfield's reputation as the nation's top electric guitarist (before the emergence of Jimi Hendrix, at any rate). Elvin Bishop's guitar work on the song is not too shabby either.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2214 (starts 3/28/22)

    It's once again free-form time at Rockin' in the Days of Confusion, as we managed to fit 14 songs from 14 artists into one 59-minute show. It begins with Black Sabbath and ends with Paul McCartney and Wings, and includes, among other things, a personal favorite from Mahogany Rush that has never been played on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before this week.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    After Forever
Source:    LP: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Butler/Iommi
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Anyone attempting to portray Black Sabbath as a bunch of Satanists had only to listen once to After Forever, from the Master Of Reality album, to be abused of the notion. The lyrics, written by bassist Geezer Butler (an avowed Catholic) are actually about as un-subtle as can be imagined. The song was released as the first single from the album, but failed to chart.

Artist:    Free
Title:    Wishing Well
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single (from LP: Heartbreaker)
Writer(s):    Rodgers/Kirke/Yamauchi/Bundrick/Kossoff
Label:    Island
Year:    1972
    The final album from Free featured a somewhat altered lineup from their previous albums. Bassist (and one of the band's primary songwriters) Andy Fraser had already left the band, while guitarist/keyboardist Paul Kossoff was often incapacitated due to his Quaalude addiction. As a result, several guest musicians, as well as a couple of more permanent replacement members, make an appearance on Heartbreaker. With Fraser gone, lead vocalist Paul Rodgers took on the bulk of the band's songwriting duties, although the official writing credit on several tracks, including the single Wishing Well, went to the entire band membership. Following a US tour (without Kossoff), the band finally called it quits, with Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke remaining together to form a new band, Bad Company.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Do It Again
Source:    CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1972
    Although they at first appeared to be a real band, Steely Dan was, in fact, two people: keyboardist/vocalist Donald Fagen and bassist (and later guitarist) Walter Becker. For their first album they recruited, from various places, guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, drummer Jim Hodder, guitarist Denny Dias, and finally (when they realized they would have to actually perform live, which terrified Fagen) vocalist David Palmer. The first single from the album, Do It Again, was a major hit, going to the #6 spot on the Billboard charts and, more importantly, introducing the world at large to the Steely Dan sound, combining jazz-influenced rock music with slyly cynical lyrics (often sung in the second person). Steely Dan would continue to be an influential force in popular music, and especially FM rock radio, throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Foghat
Title:    What A Shame
Source:    LP: Heavy Metal (originally released on LP: Foghat (aka Rock and Roll)
Writer(s):    Rod Price
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Bearsville)
Year:    1973
    Apparently the members of Foghat couldn't come up with a good title for their second LP, so they just called it Foghat. Since their first album was also called Foghat, this would have made things a bit confusing if not for the fact that the album cover itself was a picture of a rock and a bread roll against an all-white background. For obvious reasons this has led most people to refer to the album as Rock and Roll. What A Shame was written by guitarist Rod Price, the only Foghat member not to have come from Savoy Brown, which probably explains why it doesn't sound much like Savoy Brown at all.

Artist:    Black Oak Arkansas
Title:    Jim Dandy
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Lincoln Chase
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    My first exposure to Black Oak Arkansas was at a Grand Funk Railroad concert in August of 1971. I had literally arrived on the campus of Southwestern University in Weatherford Oklahoma the night before the concert, having hitchhiked there from New Mexico. On arrival I soon learned that my bandmates DeWayne and Mike, whose dorm room I was crashing in, already had tickets for the concert in Norman, Oklahoma. They invited me to come along, assuring me that I could easily score tickets at the gate. As it turns out they were right, but by the time we got there the only tickets left were bleacher seats. Of course, the rest of the group that made the drive to Norman all had floor tickets, so I ended up sitting by myself up in the nosebleed section for the opening act, a group I had never heard of called Black Oak Arkansas. I decided that, for the next 45 minutes or so, I would be a reviewer, and started analyzing this new band one song at a time. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed at first, but found each successive song to be a little bit better than the one before it. By the time the band had finished their set, I was electrified (literally, since the last song was called The Day Electricity Came To Arkansas). I eventually bought a copy of the album Black Oak Arkansas, and was pleased to discover that the songs were in the exact same order on the LP as I had first heard them in concert. Over the years I continued to follow the band's progress, and was happy to hear, in 1973, their remake of an old LaVerne Baker song, Jim Dandy, on the local AM radio station. In fact, I went out and bought a copy of the 45 RPM single (which has since been replaced with a less scratchy copy).

Artist:    Mahogany Rush
Title:    Once Again
Source:    Canadian import CD: Strange Universe
Writer(s):    Frank Marino
Label:    Just A Minute! (original US label: 20th Century)
Year:    1975
    Jimi Hendrix didn't often play in a jazz style, but when he did, he did it well. Case in point: Up From The Skies, from the album Axis: Bold As Love. In the mid-1970s Canadian guitarist Frank Marino and his band Mahogany Rush channeled that energy with the song Once Again on their Strange Universe album. The song reflects the same sort of ironic humor that Hendrix showed in songs like 51st Anniversary, yet stands out as an example of Marino's talent as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Artist:    Love Sculpture
Title:    Blues Helping
Source:    British import CD: Blues Helping
Writer(s):    Williams/Edmunds/Jones
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    When the name Dave Edmunds comes up, it is usually in association with an early 70s remake of the classic Fats Domino tune I Hear You Knockin'. What many people are not aware of, however, is that Edmunds was a major force on the late 60s British blues scene with his band Love Sculpture. The title track of that band's debut LP, Blues Helping, showcases Edmunds's prowess as a guitarist (as does the rest of the album).

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Seamus
Source:    CD: Meddle
Writer:    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmour
Label:    Pink Floyd Records (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1971
    After spending several months on the concept album Atom Heart Mother, the members of Pink Floyd decided to lighten things up a bit for their next album, Meddle. Stylistically, Meddle probably has the most variety of any Pink Floyd album, ranging from the driving rocker One Of These Days, to the acoustic blues tune Seamus. The latter song is best played loud, preferably with at least one dog in the room with you.

And speaking of dogs....

Artist:    Gentle Giant
Title:    Dog's Life
Source:    CD: Octopus
Writer(s):    Minnear/Shulman/Shulman/Shulman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1972
    Although not a major commercial success, Gentle Giant's fourth album, Octopus, is generally considered to be the beginning of the band's peak period, and according to band member Ray Shulman, their best album overall. One of my favorite tracks on the album is Dog's Life, which is a somewhat whimsical look at a day in the life of man's best friend, the song's musical arrangement is unique in that it combines acoustic guitar, string quartet and vocals in a way seldom heard in rock music.

Artist:     Mountain
Title:     Theme From An Imaginary Western
Source:     European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Windfall)
Year:     1970
     Keyboardist Felix Pappaliardi worked closely with the band Cream in the studio, starting with the album Disraeli Gears, so it was only natural that his new band Mountain would perform (and record) at least one song by Cream's primary songwriting team, Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. If Mississippi Queen was guitarist Leslie West's signature song, then Theme From An Imaginary Western was Felix's, at least until Nantucket Sleighride came along.

Artist:    Eric Clapton
Title:    Easy Now
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Eric Clapton)
Writer(s):    Eric Clapton
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    When it comes to Eric Clapton's Easy Now (from his first solo album), the word most often used by critics is "underrated". The song was never intended to be a hit single. In fact, it was released as a B side, not once but twice, in 1970 (paired with After Midnight) and 1972 (paired with Let It Rain). Nonetheless, the tune holds up better than most of the tracks on the album itself, and has been singled out as one of the best songs Clapton ever wrote. Easy Now was also included on the 1972 LP Eric Clapton At His Best.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Tangerine
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Jimmy Page
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The third Led Zeppelin album, released in 1970, saw the band expanding beyond its blues-rock roots into more acoustic territory. This was in large part because the band had, after an exhausting North American concert tour, decided to take a break, with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page renting an 18th century cottage in Wales that had no electricity. While there, the two composed most of the music that would become Led Zeppelin III. Once the music was written, the band reunited in a run-down mansion at Headley Grange to rehearse the new material, giving the entire project a more relaxed feel. Only one song on the album, Tangerine, is credited solely to Jimmy Page; as it turns out Tangerine would be the last original Led Zeppelin song that Plant did not write lyrics for (excepting instrumentals of course).

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:    Paul McCartney And Wings
Title:    No Words
Source:    European import LP: Band On The Run
Writer(s):    McCartney/Laine
Label:    MPL (original label: Apple)
Year:    1973
    You would think that, after years of sharing writing credit with John Lennon on virtually everything musical either of them created, Paul McCartney might be inclined to take sole writing credit for his later material. Not so. Most of his 70s work co-credits his wife Linda and one track, No Words, from the 1973 LP Band On The Run, credits Denny Laine, the former Moody Blues member who was the third person making up the nucleus of the band Wings. No Words also has the distinction of being the shortest track (at 2:35) on Band On The Run.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2213 (starts 3/21/22)

    This week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era includes several long sets from specific years, as well as a couple of artists' sets, including another trio of seldom-heard Rolling Stones tracks and a post-Van Morrison Them set. It begins with an uninterrupted half hour of tunes from 1966...

Artist:     Troggs
Title:     Wild Thing
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Chip Taylor
Label:     Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:     1966
    I have a DVD copy of a music video (although back then they were called promotional films) for the Troggs' Wild Thing in which the members of the band are walking through what looks like a train station while being mobbed by girls at every turn. Every time I watch it I imagine singer Reg Presley saying giggity-giggity as he bobs his head.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    The Flute Thing
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Project was one of the most influential bands in rock history, yet one of the least known. Perhaps the first of the "underground" rock bands, the Project made their name by playing small colleges across the country (including Hobart and William Smith, where Stuck in the Psychedelic Era is produced). The Flute Thing, from the band's second album, Projections, features bassist Andy Kuhlberg on flute, with rhythm guitarist Steve Katz taking over the bass playing, joining lead guitarist Danny Kalb and keyboardist Al Kooper for a tune that owes more to jazz artists like Roland Kirk than to anything top 40 rock had to offer at the time.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Cheating
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Burdon/Chandler
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    As a general rule, the original Animals wrote very little of their own material, preferring to record covers of their favorite blues songs to supplement the songs from professional songwriters that producer Mickie Most picked for single release. One notable exception is Cheating, a strong effort from vocalist Eric Burdon and bassist Chas Chandler that appeared on the Animalization album. The hard-driving song was also chosen for release as a B side in 1966.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Tomorrow Never Knows
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    A few years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was Tomorrow Never Knows from the Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver. The song is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking and has been hailed as a masterpiece of 4-track studio production.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village. It was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 and went all the way to the # 3 spot on the British top 40. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. Although Rose always claimed that Hey Joe was a traditional folk song, the song was actually copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts. By the time Hendrix recorded Hey Joe several American bands had recorded a fast version of the song, with the Leaves hitting the US top 40 with it in early 1966.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    CD: Gloria
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Although most oldies stations now tend to favor the 1965 Them B side version of Gloria, it was Chicago's Shadows Of Knight that made it one of the most popular garage-rock songs in history.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Toad
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Ginger Baker
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    By 1970, pretty much every rock band in the world featured a drum solo during live performances. Before 1966, however, the practice was unheard of; in fact, drum solos were considered solely the province of jazz musicians. The guy who changed all that was Ginger Baker of Cream, who, on the band's very first album provided the studio version of Toad. Due to the limitations of four-track recording, the entire drum solo, which takes up the bulk of the five-minute recording, is assigned to one single track, which on the stereo version of the song is mixed entirely to one channel/speaker. This makes for a rather odd listening experience under certain circumstances. A longer version of Toad recorded live at the Fillmore would appear on Cream's third album, Wheels Of Fire, in 1968 (this time with the drums mixed in full stereo). To cement his reputation as the king of rock drum solos, Baker included yet another lengthy one (in 5/4 time yet!) on Do What You Like, a song he wrote himself for the Blind Faith album.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Fifth Dimension)
Writer(s):    Clark/McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1966
    Gene Clark's final contribution to the Byrds was his collaboration with David Crosby and Roger McGuinn, Eight Miles High. Despite a newsletter from the influential Gavin Report advising stations not to play this "drug song", Eight Miles High managed to hit the top 20 in 1966. The band members themselves claimed that Eight Miles High was not a drug song at all, but was instead referring to the experience of travelling by air. In fact, it was Gene Clark's fear of flying, especially long intercontinental trips, that in part led to his leaving the Byrds.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Let Me In
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Marty Balin deserves recognition for his outstanding abilities as a leader. Most people don't even realize he was the founder of Jefferson Airplane, yet it was Balin who brought together the diverse talents of what would become San Francisco's most successful band of the 60s and managed to keep the band together through more than its share of controversies. One indication of his leadership abilities is that he encouraged Paul Kantner to sing lead on Let Me In, a song that the two of them had written together for the band's debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, despite the fact that Balin himself had no other onstage role than to sing lead vocals.

Artist:     Electric Prunes
Title:     Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Source:     45 RPM single B side
Writer:     Tucker/Mantz
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1967
     For a follow-up to the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), producer Dave Hassinger chose another Annette Tucker song (co-written by Jill Jones) called Get Me To The World On Time. This was probably the best choice from the album tracks available, but Hassinger may have made a mistake by choosing Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) as the B side. That song, written by the same Tucker/Mantz team that wrote I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) could quite possibly been a hit single in its own right if it had been issued as an A side. I guess we'll never know for sure.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Boogie Music
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Living The Blues and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.T.Tatman III
Label:    United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat was formed in 1966 by a group of San Francisco Bay Area blues purists. Although a favorite on the rock scene, the band continued to remain true to the blues throughout their existence, even after relocating to the Laurel Canyon area near Los Angeles in 1968. The band's most popular single was Going Up the Country from the album Living the Blues. The B side of that single was another track from Living The Blues that actually had a longer running time on the single than on the album version. Although the single uses the same basic recording of Boogie Music as the album, it includes a short low-fidelity instrumental tacked onto the end of the song that sounds suspiciously like a 1920s recording of someone playing a melody similar to Going Up The Country on a fiddle. The only time this unique version of the song appeared in stereo was on a 1969 United Artists compilation called Progressive Heavies that also featured tracks from Johnny Winter, Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group and others.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    New Speedway Boogie
Source:    LP: Workingman's Dead
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The first three Grateful Dead albums were all attempts to capture the energy and experimentation of the band's live sets. Finally, in 1969, the band decided just to release a double LP of live performances. Once this goal had been reached the band began to move into new territory, concentrating more on songwriting and studio techniques. The result was Workingman's Dead, the first Grateful Dead LP to include songs that would become staples of the emerging album rock radio format. Among the strongest tracks on the album was New Speedway Boogie, which would become a staple of the band's live shows.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Friends/Celebration Day
Source:    German import LP: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant/Jones
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Following a year of almost constant touring to promote the first two Led Zeppelin albums, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page decided to take a break in early 1970, moving to a Welsh cottage with no electricity and concentrating on their songwriting skills. The result was an album, Led Zeppelin III, that differed markedly from its predecessors. Many of the songs on the album, such as Friends, were almost entirely acoustical, while others, like Celebration Day, were, if possible, more intense than anything on the band's first two albums. Once much of the material for the new album had been written, Page and Plant were joined by John Bonham and John Paul Jones at a place called Headley Grange, where the band rehearsed the new material, adding a few more songs in the process. The album itself caught the band's fans by surprise, and suffered commercially as a result, but has since come to be regarded as a milestone for the band.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    Tallyman
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Sundazed/Epic
Year:    1967
    Mickey Most (born Michael Peter Hayes) was a British record producer who was responsible for some of the biggest hits of the British Invasion, working with bands like the Animals and Herman's Hermits, as well as individual artists like Donovan and Lulu. In most cases (sorry about the pun) he chose the songs himself for the bands to record, something that did not sit well with Eric Burdon of the Animals in particular. Nonetheless, he had the reputation as the man to go to for the best chance of getting on the charts and he rarely disappointed. In 1967, guitarist Jeff Beck, having recently left the Yardbirds, had dreams of becoming a pop star, and turned to Most for help in making it happen. Most, as usual, picked out the songs for Beck's first two singles, the second of which was Tallyman, a song written by the same Graham Gouldman that had provided the Yardbirds with their first Beck era hit, Heart Full Of Soul. Beck would continue to work with Most for the next couple of years, although by the time the album Beck-Ola was released, Beck himself was choosing the material to record and starting with his next LP, Rough And Ready, would be producing his own records.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Heroes And Villains (alternate take)
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Smiley Smile/Wild Honey)
Writer(s):    Wilson/Parks
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1995
    The last major Beach Boys hit of the 1960s was Heroes And Villains, released as a follow-up to Good Vibrations in early 1967. The song was intended to be part of the Smile album, but ended up being released as a single in an entirely different form than Brian Wilson originally intended. Eventually the entire Smile project was canned, and a considerably less sophisticated album called Smiley Smile was released in its place. Nearly 30 years later Smiley Smile and its follow-up album, Wild Honey, were released on compact disc as a set.  One of the bonus tracks in that set was this alternate version of Heroes And Villains, which was also included in the box set Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys. Finally, in 2004, Brian Wilson's Smile, featuring all new stereo recordings, was released, with an arrangement of Heroes And Villains that was quite similar to the one heard here.

Artist:    Underground
Title:    Satisfyin' Sunday
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    O'Keefe/Wright
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1966
    Although not the first place that comes to mind when the subject of folk music comes up, Houston actually had a fairly lively scene in the mid-1960s, including a recording studio (belonging to Walt Andrus) that catered to the folk and rock crowd. It was here that four local folk singers, Larry O'Keefe, Jerry Wright, Susan Giles and Kay Oslin, decided to get together and form a band called the Underground. Their first single, released in November of 1966, was Satisfyin' Sunday, released on Bob Shad's Mainstream label. The single got heavy local airplay, but did not catch on nationally, and after a second single failed to chart as well, the group splintered, with the individual members going their separate ways. Oslin would resurface in 1980s as a successful country singer under the name K.T. Oslin.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    All Sold Out
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones were on the verge of a transition period when they recorded Between The Buttons in August and September of 1966. Much of the album, including tracks like All Sold Out, were pretty much in the same vein as the songs on their previous album, Aftermath, yet Between The Buttons also marked the beginning of the band's brief flirtation with psychedelia as well. From a production standpoint the album suffered from the limitations of 4-track technology, which necessitated the use of "bouncing" (pre-mixing multiple tracks down to a single track to make room for overdubs on the original tracks), a process that often resulted in a loss of audio fidelity. In fact, Mick Jagger later referred to most of Between The Buttons as "more of less rubbish" because of the overall sound quality.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Spider And The Fly
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in US on LP: Out Of Our Heads)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
    The catalogs of many popular British bands of the 1960s differ greatly between the US and Great Britain. There are several reasons for this, the most obvious being that British albums generally had a longer running time than American ones, and British singles stayed in print far longer than American ones. In the case of the Rolling Stones there was a third factor: many of their recordings were made in the US and intended primarily for American listeners. In a few cases, such The Spider And The Fly, a song would actually appear in the US before it did in the UK. The Spider And The Fly originally appeared as an album track on the 1965 LP Out Of Our Heads in the US. A few weeks later, the song was released in the UK as the B side of the single (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, and was not included on the British version of Out Of Our Heads at all.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Something Happened To Me Yesterday
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The final track on the 1967 Rolling Stones album Between The Buttons is notable for several reasons. Most signficantly, it is the first officially-released Stones tune to feature Keith Richards on lead vocals (on the chorus; Mick Jagger sings lead on the verses). Second, at just a second under five minutes, Something Happened To Me Yesterday is the longest track on Between The Buttons. The third point is illustrated by a quote from Mick Jagger himself: "I leave it to the individual imagination as to what happened." According to one critic, that "something" was an acid trip, making this one of the band's more overt drug songs.

Artist:     Doors
Title:     People Are Strange
Source:     LP: Strange Days (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     The Doors
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1967
     The first single from the second Doors album was People Are Strange. The song quickly dispelled any notion that the Doors might be one-hit wonders and helped establish the band as an international act as opposed to just another band from L.A. The album itself, Strange Days, was a turning point for Elektra Records as well, as it shifted the label's promotional efforts away from their original rock band, Love, to the Doors, who ironically had been recommended to the label by the members of Love.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Matilda Mother
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Salesman
Source:    LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Craig Smith
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1967
    The first song on the Monkees' fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. was also the most controversial. Michael Nesmith, as a side project, had been producing songs for a group led by Craig Vincent Smith called the Penny Arkade. One song in particular, Salesman, impressed Nesmith so much that he decided to produce a Monkees version of the song as well. The track was then used in a Monkees TV episode called The Devil And Peter Tork. NBC-TV at first refused to air the episode, claiming that the line "Salesman with your secret goods that you push while you talk" was a veiled drug reference (although producer Bert Schnieder was convinced the real reason was the liberal use of the word "hell" in the show's script).

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    Peace Of Mind
Source:    Mono CD: Greatest Hits (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Melcher
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    Billy Altman, in his liner notes for the expanded 1999 version of Paul Revere And The Raiders' Greatest Hits CD, refers to Peace Of Mind as "psychedelic-souled". I've never run across that particular term before, so I thought I'd repeat it here. Peace Of Mind was one of the last songs to feature the participation of producer Terry Melcher, who had co-written many of the band's hit songs. With Melcher's departure, vocalist Mark Lindsay took more personal control of the band's direction, bringing in studio musicians for most of their subsequent recordings.

Artist:    Royal Guardsmen
Title:    Om
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Richards/Taylor
Label:    Laurie
Year:    1967
    The 1960s were a decade of fads, some lasting longer than others. One of the shortest-lived fads of the decade was a series of records by a group called the Royal Guardsmen about the imaginary battles between Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy (from the Peanuts comic strip) and the infamous German WWI ace The Red Baron. The first of these was a million-selling single that went all the way to the #2 spot on the national charts. This led to
an album, also called Snoopy vs. The Red Baron. Both the album and single were released in 1966. 1967 saw the release of a second LP, The Return Of The Red Baron, which spawned three top 100 singles. The second of these was The Airplane Song, which topped out in the #46 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, but was a top 20 hit in Australia and New Zealand. The B side of that single was the instrumental Om. Also taken from The Return Of The Red Baron, Om was written by band members Tom Richards (who played guitar) and organist Billy Taylor. By mid-1967 the novelty had worn off, although their December 1967 single, Snoopy's Christmas, probably gets more airplay these days than any of the original singles.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Square Room (single version)
Source:    Mono British import CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Armstrong/Harley/Henderson/McDowell
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Sully)
Year:    1967
      After Van Morrison left Them to try his luck as a solo artist, the rest of the band returned to their native Ireland to recruit a new vocalist, Kenny McDowell, before relocating to California. Their first record with the new lineup was a single on the Sully label of a song called Dirty Old Man (At The Age Of 16). The B side of the single was a piece called Square Room, that would end up being re-recorded in a much longer arrangement for their LP debut on Tower Records the following year.

Artist:     Them
Title:     Time Out For Time In
Source:     LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:     Tower
Year:     1968
     After Van Morrison left Them to embark on a successful solo career, the rest of the band continued to make records. The first effort was an offshoot group made up of former members of the band (who had left while Morrison was still fronting the group) calling themselves the Belfast Gypsys, who released one LP in 1967. The current band, meanwhile, had returned to their native Ireland and recruited Kenny McDowell as their new lead vocalist. They soon relocated to California, recording two LPs for Tower Records in 1968. The second of these was a collaborative effort between Them and the songwriting team of Tom Pulley and Vivian Lane. The opening track of the LP, Time Out For Time In, is a good example of the direction the band was moving in at that time.

Artist:      Them
Title:     Black Widow Spider
Source:      CD: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Lane/Pulley
Label:    Rev-Ola (original label: Tower)
Year:     1968
     Usually when a band used outside songwriters it's because their producer forced them into it, and almost always was a sore point with the band members. The liner notes for Them's second album for Tower, on the other hand, included a thank you note from the band to Tom Lane and Sharon Pulley, who wrote nearly every song on Time Out! Time In! For Them, including Black Widow Spider.
Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    Dawn: Dawn Is A Feeling
Source:    LP: Days Of Future Passed
Writer(s):    Mike Pinder
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    Dawn Is A Feeling was written by Moody Blues keyboardist Mike Pinder as a starting off point for a concept album about a day in the life of an average mid-20th century working man. That album became Days Of Future Passed, and it revived the fortunes of the band, forever branding them as the group that used classical-styled orchestral arrangements to enhance rock songs.

Artist:    Del Shannon
Title:    Conquer
Source:    CD: The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover
Writer(s):    Del Shannon
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Del Shannon showed his versatility as well as his ability to keep up with the times on songs like Conquer, from his most Psychedelic album, 1968's The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover (Charles Westover being Shannon's given name). The album itself went largely unnoticed (except by Shannon's die-hard fans) when it was originally released, but has since become recognized as one of his better efforts.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Round
Source:     CD: This Was
Writer:     Anderson/Abrahams/Cornish/Bunker/Ellis
Label:     Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:     1968
     Round was probably just a short warm-up jam (or possibly a break song) that the band decided to include at the end of their first album, This Was. It is the only song credited to the entire Jethro Tull lineup, including producer Terry Ellis, co-founder of Chrysalis Records.

Artist:    Buckinghams
Title:    And Your Love
Source:    LP: Time And Charges
Writer(s):    James William Guercio
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    The Buckinghams were a Chicago area band that hit the top of the US charts with Kind Of A Drag, released on the local USA label in late 1966. Not long after that the band was introduced to James William Guercio, who immediately saw the potential of a rock band with a strong horn presence. Guercio soon became the band's producer, getting the Buckinhams a contract with Columbia, at the time the second largest record label in the US (behind RCA Victor). Guercio produced the band's second LP, Time And Charges, which included several of Guercio's own compositions such as And Your Love. After creative differences resulted in Guercio and the Buckinghams going their separate ways,  Guercio found a pair of new bands with horn sections in need of a producer: Blood, Sweat & Tears (who had just added David Clayton-Thomas to the lineup) and the Chicago Transit Authority, who would end up shortening their name to Chicago.

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

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Uni)
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints started off as an instrumental from Los Angeles band Thee Sixpence members Mark Weitz and Ed King, mostly because the band simply couldn't come up with any lyrics. Their producer decided to bring in professional songwriters John S. Carter and Tim Gilbert to finish the song, and ended up giving them full credit for it. This did not sit well with the band members. In fact, they hated the lyrics so much that they refused to sing them. Undaunted, the producer persuaded 16-year-old Greg Munford, a friend of the band who had accompanied them to the recording studio, to sing the lead vocals on the track, which was was then issued as the B side of the group's fourth single, The Birdman Of Alkatrash, on the All-American label. Somewhere along the line a local DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) immediately signed the band (which by then had changed their name to the Strawberry Alarm Clock) issuing the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side. Naturally, the song went to the number one spot, becoming the band's only major hit.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2213 (starts 3/21/22)

    This week's edition of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion starts out in free-form mode, with cuts from Traffic, Jethro Tull, the Pentangle and others, but, once again, ends up with a whole bunch of tracks from 1969. It must be a March thing.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind, aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
            Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most  closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's Dear Mr. Fantasy from Traffic's 1967 debut LP Mr. Fantasy. The album was originally released in a modified version in the US in early 1968 under the title Heaven Is In Your Mind, but later editions of the LP, while retaining the US track order and running time, were renamed to match the original British title.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Love Story
Source:    CD: This Was (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968 (UK), 1969 (US)
    Love Story was the last studio recording by the original Jethro Tull lineup of Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornish. The song was released as a single (Jethro Tull's first in the US) following the band's debut LP, This Was. Shortly after its release Abrahams left the group, citing differences with Anderson over the band's musical direction. Love Story spent eight weeks on the UK singles chart, reaching the #29 spot. In the U.S., Love Story was released in March 1969, with A Song for Jeffrey (an album track from This Was) on the B-side, but did not chart. Like most songs released as singles in the UK, Love Story did not appear on an album until several years later; in this case on the 1973 anthology album Living In The Past. It has most recently been included as a bonus track on the expanded CD version of This Was.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Hear My Call
Source:    LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    Staple Singers
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The Pentangle could be called the first supergroup of British folk music, yet in their early days they had a sound that owed as much to modern jazz as it did to traditional folk tunes. A good example is Hear My Call from their 1968 debut LP. The song was originally recorded by the Staple Singers, but the Pentangle definitely put their own spin on the tune, with all the members getting a chance to shine, either instrumentally or, in the case of Jacqui McShee, vocally.
Artist:    Davic Bowie
Title:    The Bewlay Brothers
Source:    CD: Hunky Dory
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1971
    Called by one critic "probably the most cryptic, mysterious, unfathomable and downright frightening Bowie recording in existence", The Bewlay Brothers is the final track on the 1971 album Hunky Dory, and the one with the longest lyrics. Bowie himself, in a 1977 interview, called it "another vaguely anecdotal piece about my feelings about myself and my brother, or my other doppelgänger. I was never quite sure what real position Terry had in my life, whether Terry was a real person or whether I was actually referring to another part of me, and I think 'Bewlay Brothers' was really about that."

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Fountain Of Salmacis
Source:    Canadian import CD: Nursery Cryme
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    Genesis' original guitarist, Anthony Phillips, left the group following their second LP, Trespass, in 1970. This almost caused the band to break up, but ultimately resulted in a revised lineup consisting of Peter Gabriel (vocals), Tony Banks (keyboards), and Mike Rutherford (bass), along with new members Steve Hackett (guitar) and Phil Collins (drums). Early in 1971 the five got to work on a new album, which eventually came to be called Nursery Cryme. Although the album was not a huge seller in their native England, it found enough of a following in European nations such as Belgium to allow the band to continue on. The Fountain Of Salmacis, the album's closing track, was inspired by the story of a water nymph who becomes a hermaphodite after bathing in cursed water (hey, blame the ancient Greeks for that story).

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    I Can't Quit You/How Many More Times
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Dixon/Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own. Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.
Artist:    Larry Coryell
Title:    The Jam With Albert
Source:    LP: Coryell
Writer(s):    Larry Coryell
Label:    Vanguard Apostolic
Year:    1969
    Larry Coryell is best known as a pioneer of jazz-rock fusion. His early work, however, is more of an eclectic mix of styles, including jazz, funk and even hard rock. The Jam With Albert, named for stand up bassist Albert Stinson, belongs in the latter category. As the title implies, it is basically a long jam with a lot of intense guitar work from Coryell. The Jam With Albert is, in fact, the longest track on the album, clocking in at over nine minutes.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Roadhouse Blues (live)
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1978
    Roadhouse Blues is one of the most instantly recognizable songs in the entire Doors catalog. Indeed, most people can identify it from the first guitar riff, long before Jim Morrison's vocals come in. The original studio version of the song was released on the album Morrison Hotel in 1970, and was also issued as the B side of one of the band's lesser-known singles. That same year the Doors undertook what became known as their Roadhouse Blues tour; many of the performances from that tour were recorded, but not released at the time. In 1978 the three remaining members of the band, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore, decided to put music to some recordings of Morrison reciting his own poetry made before his death in 1971. The resulting album, An American Prayer, also included a live version of Roadhouse Blues made from two separate concert tapes from their 1970 tour. An edited version of the album track was released as a 1978 single as well.

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.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2212 (starts 3/14/22)

    This week we have a visit from the Gods; in fact, an entire album side from their debut LP, Genesis, which was originally released in 1968. Other than that it's a show full of individual tracks from all over the US and the UK covering the years 1964 to 1971. We start in the industrial city of Newcastle uponTyne...

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Benjamin/Marcus/Caldwell
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    1965 was a huge year for the Animals. Coming off the success of their 1964 smash House Of The Rising Sun, the Newcastle group racked up three major hits in 1965, including Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, a song originally recorded by jazz singer Nina Simone. The Animals version speeded up the tempo and used a signature riff that had been taken from Simone's outro. The Animals version of Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood made the top 20 in the US and the top five in both the UK and Canada.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. It was released as a single in the UK in late 1966 and went all the way to the # 3 spot on the British top 40. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. Although Rose always claimed that Hey Joe was a traditional folk song, the song was actually copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts. By the time Hendrix recorded Hey Joe several American bands had recorded a fast version of the song, with the Leaves hitting the US top 40 with it in early 1966.

Artist:    Light Nites
Title:    Same Old Thing
Source:    Mono CD: If You're Ready! The Best of Dunwich Records...Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Colbert/Loizzo
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1967
    In the wake of the phenomenal success of their very first single release, Gloria by the Shadows Of Knight, Chicago-based Dunwich Records went about scouting the area for other local teen-oriented bands. Among those they signed was a popular South Side band known as Gary And The Knight Lites. Led by Gary Loizzo, the band issued its only single for Dunwich, a tune called One, Two, Boogaloo, in 1967, with Same Old Thing on the B side. Most likely to avoid confusion with the better-known Shadows Of Knight, the single was issued under the name Light Nites. They would soon undergo a more permanent name change when they became the American Breed, scoring the huge national hit Bend Me Shape Me later the same year.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Porpoise Song
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Cymbaline
Source:    Mono CD: Cre/Ation-The Early Years 1967-1972 (original version released on LP: Soundtrack From The Film "More")
Writer(s):    Roger Waters
Label:    Columbia/Pink Floyd
Year:    1969
    Following the release of their second LP, A Saucerful Of Secrets, Pink Floyd, now completely without founding member Syd Barrett, got to work on a soundtrack album for the French art film More. The album saw the group moving more into the avant-garde experimentalism that would characterize the band for the next several years, with tracks like Cymbaline taking on a more somber quality than Pink Floyd's earlier work. The band had become a favorite of DJ John Peel, who featured Pink Floyd live on May 12, 1969, performing Cymbaline, a Roger Waters tune from the film.

Artist:     Grateful Dead
Title:     Truckin'
Source:     LP: American Beauty
Writer:     Garcia/Weir/Hunter/Lesh
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1970
     Following up on the success of the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, the Grateful Dead released their fifth studio LP, American Beauty, on November 1st of the same year. Whereas nearly all the songs on Workingman's Dead were written by lead guitarist Jerry Garcia and poet Robert Hunter, American Beauty featured tunes from several different band members, although stylistically the two albums were quite similar, with strong emphasis on vocal harmonies. The single from the album was Truckin', written by Garcia, Hunter, bassist Phil Lesh and rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, based on the true story of their 1970 drug bust in New Orleans, with lead vocals provided by Weir. Although not a major hit, the song did peak at #64 on December 25, 1971, over a year after it was released.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Eric (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    You Really Got Me has been described as the first hard rock song and the track that invented heavy metal. You'll get no argument from me on either of those assessments.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    As Tears Go By
Source:    Mono: Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) (originally released on LP: December's Children [And Everybody's] and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards/Oldham
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1965
            As Tears Go By is sometimes referred to as the Rolling Stones' answer to the Beatles' Yesterday. The problem with this theory, however, is that As Tears Go By was written a year before Yesterday was released, and in fact was a top 10 UK single for Marianne Faithful in 1964. The story of the song's genesis is that producer/manager Andrew Oldham locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the kitchen until they came up with an original song. The original title was As Time Goes By, but, not wanting anyone to confuse it with the famous song used in the film Casablanca, Oldham changed Time to Tears, and got a writing credit for his trouble. Since the Stones were not at that time known for soft ballads, Oldham gave the song to Marianne Faithful, launching a successful recording career for the singer in 1964. The following year the Stones included their own version of the song on the album December's Children (And Everybody's), using a string arrangement that may indeed have been inspired by the Beatles' Yesterday, which was holding down the # 1 spot on the charts at the time the Rolling Stones were recording As Tears Go By. After American disc jockeys began playing As Tears Go By as an album track, London Records released the song as a US-only single, which ended up making the top 10 in 1965.
Artist:    Euphoria
Title:    Hungry Women
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wesley Watt
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1966
            Euphoria was the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln. The band existed in various incarnations, starting in 1966. Originally based in San Francisco, the group, minus Lincoln, relocated to Houston in early summer of 1966, only to return a couple months later with a pair of new members pirated from a band called the Misfits that had gotten in trouble with local law enforcement officials. Around this time they were discovered by Bob Shad, who was out on the west coast looking for acts to sign to his Chicago-based Mainstream label. The band recorded four songs at United studios, two of which, Hungry Women and No Me Tomorrow, were issued as a single in late 1966. The following year both songs appeared in stereo on Shad's Mainstream showcase LP With Love-A Pot Of Flowers, along with tunes from several other acts that Shad had signed in 1966.
Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Simulated stereo Canadian LP: Shapes Of Things (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Priority (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.

Artist:    Bees
Title:    Voices Green And Purple
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wood/Willsie
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liverpool)
Year:    1966
    One of the shortest, as well as most demented, singles ever released, Voices Green And Purple recounts a bad acid trip in just over a minute and a half. The Bees themselves were an early indy punk band from LaVerne, California, an obscure L.A. suburb.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Talk Talk
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
Year:    1966
    The Music Machine was one of the most sophisticated bands to appear on the L.A. club scene in 1966, yet their only major hit, Talk Talk, was deceptively simple and straightforward punk-rock, and still holds up as two of the most intense minutes of rock music ever to crack the top 40 charts.

Artist:    Sands
Title:    Listen To The Sky
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sands
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reaction)
Year:    1967
    The Others, from Middlesex, England released a 1964 version of Bo Diddley's Oh Yeah that was later copied, note for note, by Chicago's Shadows Of Knight. Three years later, now calling themselves Sands, the same band released a gem called Listen To The Sky that starts off sounding a bit like the Beatles, but turns into a psychedelic freakout before it's all over.

Artist:    Red Crayola
Title:    War Sucks
Source:    Mono LP: The Parable Of Arable Lands
Writer(s):    Thompson/Cunningham/Barthelme
Label:    International Artists
Year:    1967
    New York had the Velvet Underground. L.A. had the United States of America. San Francisco had 50 Foot Hose. And Texas had the Red Crayola. Formed by art students at the University of St. Thomas (Texas) in 1966, the band was led by singer/guitarist and visual artist Mayo Thompson, along with drummer Frederick Barthelme (brother of novelist Donald Barthelme) and Steve Cunningham. The band was almost universally panned by the rock press but has since achieved cult status as a pioneer of avant-garde psychedelic punk and is considered a forerunner of "lo-fi" rock. The band's debut album, The Parable Of Arable Land, released in 1967, was reportedly recorded in one continuous session and utilizes the services of "The Familiar Ugly", a group of about 50 friends of the band, each of which was invited to play whatever they pleased on whatever sound-producing device they chose to (such as blowing into a soda bottle), filling time between the actual songs on the album. Roky Erickson, leader of the Red Crayola's International Artists labelmates 13th Floor Elevators, can be heard playing organ as part of the cacaphony.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    Sire (original US label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.

Artist:    Pandamonium
Title:    No Presents For Me
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):    Ponton/Curtis
Label:    Rhino (original label: CBS)
Year:    1967
    Originally formed in 1964 as the Pandas, Pandamonium released three singles over a period of two years. The second of these was No Presents For Me, released in 1967. The song presents a libertarian message ("there ain't no such thing as a free lunch") against a psychedelic backdrop. The resulting song failed to chart, as did the band's previous single, a cover of Donovan's Season Of The Witch, and after a final failed single in 1968 Pandamonium decided to call it quits.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Out Of My Mind
Source:    CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    There are distinct advantages in having a unique vehicle of your own. Take the case of Neil Young, who had his own hearse. Young had moved to Los Angeles in 1966 in the hope of forming a band with Stephen Stills, whom he had met a few years before in Toronto. Unfortunately, the two were unable to locate each other and Young was on the verge of returning to Canada when Stills and his new bandmates spotted Young's hearse on a busy L.A. boulevard. After hanging a u-turn, the group was able to get Young's attention and Buffalo Springfield was formed. The band recorded its first LP, Buffalo Springfield, that fall, releasing it in time for Christmas. Although Young had made considerable contributions to the album as a songwriter, people at the record company thought his voice was too weird and insisted that Richie Furay provide the lead vocals for the majority of Young's songs. One of the two tracks on the album to actually feature a Young lead vocal is Out Of My Mind, which features backup vocals by both Stills and Furay.

Artist:    Gods
Title:    Genesis-side two
Source:    Mono British import LP: Genesis
Writer(s):    Sugarman/Robertson/Konas/Hensley/Kerslake
Label:    Parlophone (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    The Juniors were a British pop band formed in 1962 made up entirely of adolescent boys who played their own instruments. The membership included 13-year-old rhythm guitarist Mick Taylor, 14-year old Brian Glascock on drums and his brother, 11-year-old John Glascock on bass. in 1965, the band underwent some changes, adding keyboardist Ken Hensley and lead vocalist/guitarist Lee Konas and changing their name to The Gods. They became part of the British blues scene, opening for Cream in 1966. The following year Taylor, who by this time had developed into a quality lead guitarist, accepted an offer to join John Mayall's Bluesbreakers as Peter Green's replacement, and they were forced to regroup, replacing the remaining two former Juniors with drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist Paul Newton, who in turn was replaced by bassist Greg Lake. In 1968 Lake was invited to join Robert Fripp's new group, King Crimson, and John Glascock returned to the band. It was this lineup (Konas/Hensley/Glascock/Kerslake) that recorded the 1968 album Genesis. As was becoming more common that year, all the songs on each side Genesis ran together as a single track, and that is the way they are being presented here. After releasing a second album, the band officially disbanded, with a group called Toe Fat, featuring several of the same members, replacing it. The four ex-Gods who recorded Genesis reunited once more under the name Head Machine for and album called Orgasm in 1970 before moving on to other projects, including Uriah Heep (Hensley and Kerslake) and, eventually, Jethro Tull (John Glascock).

Artist:    Michaelangelo
Title:    West
Source:    LP: One Voice Many
Writer(s):    Angel Peterson
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The story of the band called Michaelangelo is really the story of New York native Angel (surname Peterson, although that was never mentioned) and her electric autoharp. She first discovered the instrument as a college student, and began playing in Greenwich Villages coffee houses, where she met the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian. Sebastian, himself an autoharp enthusiast, worked with a friend to create an electronic pickup that could accurately amplify all 36 of the instrument's strings. Angel found what she considered the perfect amplifier for her autoharp (which she had nicknamed Michaelangelo) and, after playing for four years at clubs on McDougal Street, began working with bassist Bob Gorman as an instrumental duo. A frequent patron of Greenwich Village introduced them to Rachel Elkind and Walter Carlos, who had just co-produced Carlos's landmark album Switched-On Bach and were eager to get involved with a new project. Adding guitarist Steve Bohn and drummer Michael John Hackett, the group became a full band, taking the name Michaelangelo, and soon signed with Columbia Records. There were issues between Eklund and Columbia head Clive Davis, however, that resulted in the band's first LP, One Voice Many, getting absolutely no support from the label itself, and there is even evidence that Davis went out of his way to ensure that it would not be a success. The group soon disbanded, with Angel moving to Florida and Gorman (as predicted in the album's opening track West) moving out to California.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Steve Miller's Midnight Tango
Source:    LP: Number 5
Writer(s):    Ben Sidran
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    I'm sure there's a story behind Ben Sidran, who had replaced Boz Scaggs in the Steve Miller Band, writing a song called Steve Miller's Midnight Tango for the 1970 album Number 5, but I sure can't find it.

Artist:     Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     The Great Airplane Strike
Source:     LP: Spirit of '67
Writer:     Revere/Melcher/Lindsay
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
      Often dismissed for their Revolutionary War costumes and frequent TV appearances, Paul Revere and the Raiders were actually one of the first great rock bands to emerge from the Pacific Northwest. Their accomplishments include recording Louie Louie (arguably before the Kingsmen did) and being the first rock band signed to industry giant Columbia Records. The Great Airplane Strike is a good example of just how good a band they really were.

Artist:    Easybeats
Title:    Heaven And Hell
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Vanda/Young
Label:    Rhino (original US label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was a group of immigrants calling themselves the Easybeats. Often referred to as the "Australian Beatles", their early material sounded like slightly dated British Beat music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were British). By late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Writer(s):    Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    A minor, but notable trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. While not as successful as the band that started the trend, Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan's Grass Roots, Fever Tree did manage to hit the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 with San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native), a song featured on their eponymous debut LP.

Artist:     Country Weather
Title:     Fly To New York
Source:     Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released only to radio stations, later included on Swiss CD:     Country Weather)
Writer:     Baron/Carter/Derr/Douglass
Label:     Rhino (original label: RD)
Year:     Recorded 1969, released 2005
     Country Weather started off as a popular dance band in Contra Costa County, California. In 1968 they took the name Country Weather and began gigging on the San Francisco side of the bay. In 1969, still without a record contract, they recorded an album side's worth of material, made a few one-sided test copies and circulated them to local radio stations. Those tracks, including Fly To New York, were eventually released on CD in 2005 by the Swedish label RD Records.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly with Pinera And Rhino
Title:    Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way)
Source:    LP: Evolution (originally released on LP: Metamorphosis)
Writer(s):    Iron Butterfly/Edmonson
Label:    Atco
Year:    1970
    Following the departure of guitarist Erik Brann the remaining members of Iron Butterfly got to work on the band's fourth LP, Metamorphosis, using four studio guitarists. Two of them, Mike Pinera (formerly of Blues Image) and Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt, would go on to join the band shortly after the album was released. The album was moderately successful, reaching the # 16 spot of the Billboard top 200 album charts, and included the band's highest charting single since In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, a tune called Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way).

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    I Need Your Love
Source:    British import CD: Before The Dream Faded
Writer(s):    Treadway/Brown
Label:    Cherry Red
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1982
    Before becoming legends on the London music scene, the Misunderstood were a well-named band from Riverside, California, consisting of Greg Treadway (guitar, keyboards), Rick Moe (drums), George Phelps (lead guitar), Rick Brown (lead vocals), and Steve Whiting (bass). Not long after Whiting joined, the band went into the local William Locy studios to record a six-song demo that was preserved on acetate. That demo included three original tunes, one of which was I Need Your Love, a Brown/Treadway collaboration. The Misunderstood, with the help of local disc jockey John Ravenscraft (who would eventually return to his native England and start using the name John Peel), relocated to London in 1966, although they lost half of their songwriting team (Treadway) to the US military in the process. Form there they went on to become a London sensation, but were forced to disband when the government refused to extend their work visas just a few weeks later.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965
    Some people think Girl is one of those John Lennon drug songs. I see it as one of those John Lennon observing what's really going on beneath the civilized veneer of western society songs myself. Your choice.