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.

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