Sunday, April 24, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2218 (starts 4/25/22)

    This week things are pretty much back to what passes for normal on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, with a couple of artists' sets, a couple of sets from specific years and several progressions (and one regression) through the years. One oddity: although there are, as usual, plenty of singles and album tracks, there is only one B side in the entire show, and that is part of an artists' set. Not sure how that came about.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: The Seeds)
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    One of the first psychedelic singles to hit the L.A. market in 1965 was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, its local success predating that of the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1966
    The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    When it comes right down to it Buffalo Springfield has one of the highest ratios of songs recorded to songs played on the radio of any band in history, especially if you only count the two albums worth of material that was released while the band was still active. This is probably because Buffalo Springfield had more raw songwriting talent than just about any two other bands. Although Neil Young was just starting to hit his stride as a songwriter, bandmate Stephen Stills was already at an early peak, as songs like Bluebird clearly demonstrate.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Come And Get It
Source:    LP: Outsideinside
Writer(s):    Stephens/Peterson/Wagner
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    Blue Cheer's second album, Outsideinside, is best remembered for the fact that half the tracks on it had to be recorded outdoors because of the group's insistence on cranking their amps up to full volume at all times. The nine tracks on the album were recorded at seven different locations (four in New York, three in California) using four different engineers. Although specific track information is not available, my guess is that Come And Get It was recorded at the Record Plant in New York with Eddie Kramer engineering, as the stereo effects are reminiscent of the work Kramer did with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. But of course only guitarist Leigh Stephens, bassist Dickie Peterson and drummer Paul Whaley (and maybe Kramer) know for sure, assuming they remember at all.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title:    Blues-Part II/Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Writer(s):    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Although it was the brainchild of keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper, the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears had its greatest success after Kooper left the band following the release of their debut LP, Child Is Father To The Man. The group's self-titled second LP, featuring new lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, yielded no less than three top 5 singles: You Made Me So Very Happy, Spinning Wheel, and And When I Die. For me, however, the outstanding track on the album was the thirteen and a half minute Blues-Part II, which takes up most of side two of the original LP. I first heard this track on a show that ran late at night on AFN in Germany. I had already heard the band's first two hit singles and was not particularly impressed with them, but after hearing Blues-Part II I went out and bought a copy of the LP. Luckily, it was not the only track on the album that I found more appealing than the singles (God Bless The Child in particular stands out), but it still, after all these years, is my favorite BS&T recording.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Like A Rolling Stone
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    The Byrds were famous for being the California band that did electrified versions of Bob Dylan songs in 1965, but they weren't the only one. The teenaged Turtles (all of whom had to get their parents' signed permission to record) included no less that three Dylan covers on their own debut LP, which, like the first Byrds album, featured a Dylan song as the title track and band's first hit single. The similarities end there, however. The members of the Byrds had mostly a folk music background, while the Turtles had originally been formed as a surf music band called the Crossfires. That difference shows in their approach to Like A Rolling Stone, which has an almost punkish feel to it compared to, say, the Byrds' rendition of The Times They Have Been Changin'. Unlike the Byrds, however, the Turtles did not record any more Dylan songs after their first LP.

Artist:    Association
Title:    One Too Many Mornings
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Valiant)
Year:    1965
    The Association is a name that will always be associated (sorry) with soft-pop hits like Cherish, Never My Love and Windy. Originally, though, they had a hard time getting a record deal, due to their somewhat experimental approach to pop music (co-founder Terry Kirkman had played in a band with Frank Zappa prior to forming the Association, for instance). Eventually they got a deal with Jubilee Records but were unable to get decent promotion from the label. Finally producer Curt Boettcher took an interest in the group, convincing Valiant Records (which had a distribution deal with Warner Brothers) to buy out the Association's contract. The first record the group recorded for Valiant was a single version of Bob Dylan's One Too Many Mornings. Unlike many of their later records, which used studio musicians extensively, One Too Many Mornings featured the band members playing all their own instruments. Boettcher would go on to produce the Association's debut LP in 1966, which included the hits Along Comes Mary and Cherish, before moving on to other projects.

Artist:    Knickerbockers
Title:    Lies
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Randall/Charles
Label:    Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:    1965
    A lot of people thought the song Lies was the Beatles recording under a pseudonym when it came out. It wasn't, and I can't help but wonder why anyone would have thought the Beatles had any need to record under a different name (the Knickerbockers) and release a song on a second-tier label (Challenge) in the first place. Is it a Richard Bachman kind of thing?

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Hungry
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to starting a gig as the host band for Dick Clark's new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out three consecutive top 10 singles. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Super Bird
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body)
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Rhino (original label: Vanguard)
Year:    1967
    Country Joe and the Fish, from Berkeley, California, were one of the first rock bands to incorporate political satire into their music. Their I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag is one of the most famous protest songs ever written. Super Bird is even heavier on the satire than the Rag. The song, from the band's debut LP, puts president Lyndon B. Johnson, whose wife and daughter were known as "Lady-bird" and "Linda-bird", in the role of a comic book superhero.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    As Kind As Summer
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The first time I heard As Kind As Summer from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil I jumped up to see what was wrong with my turntable. A real gotcha moment.

Artist:    Ace Of Cups
Title:    Pretty Boy
Source:    Mono British import CD: It's Bad For You But Buy It
Writer(s):    Mary Ellen Simpson
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    1969?
    Mary Ellen Simpson was a guitarist who took first place in a talent show in her senior year at Indio High School in California. She eventually ended attending college at San Jose State, where she took lessons from a guitar teacher named Jorma Kaukonen. She transferred up the peninsula to San Francisco City college around 1966 or so, where, while hanging out with members of Blue Cheer, she met Mary Gannon, Marla Hunt and Diane Vitalich, who were in the process of forming an all-female rock band. Simpson had a crush on one of the members of Blue Cheer, but it didn't work out. It did, however, serve as the inspiration for the song Pretty Boy, which was part of the standard setlist for the Ace Of Cups, as the band (now including Merry Prankster Denise Kaufman) came to be known. Although the Ace Of Cups never booked time at a recording studio, they did tape a lot of their performances, which is where this recording comes from. The exact date of the performance, however, is unknown.

Artist:    Morning Dew
Title:    Crusader's Smile
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US on LP: Morning Dew)
Writer(s):    Mal Robinson
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1970
    In the late 1960s Roulette Records was pretty much wholly supported by one act: Tommy James And The Shondells, who had cranked out a string of hit records starting with Hanky Panky in 1966 (the record had actually been released in 1964). There were other artists recording for the label, however, but for the most part their efforts went unnoticed by the record buying public. This is a bit of a shame, as some of those artists, such as Morning Dew, were actually pretty good. The Topeka, Kansas band took its name from the Tim Rose song made famous by the Grateful Dead, and on most tracks sounded pretty much exactly as one would expect. The group's only LP, released in 1970, started off on a bit more energetic note with the song Crusader's Smile, which was written by band leader Mal Robinson.

Artist:    Gypsy
Title:    Around You
Source:    LP: In The Garden
Writer(s):    Enrico Rosembaum
Label:    Metromedia
Year:    1971
    Formed in Minnesota as the Underbeats in 1962, the band changed its name to Gypsy in 1969 when it relocated to Los Angeles and began a seventeen month long stand as the house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. In 1971 they released their second LP, In The Garden. As was the case with their debut LP, most of the songs on In The Garden, including the album's opening track, Around You, were written by guitarist/vocalist Enrico Rosenbaum.

Artist:    Los Bravos
Title:    Going Nowhere
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK and EU as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Levitt/Sexter
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    In 1966 Spain's Los Bravos made history by becoming the first band from a non-English speaking country to score a top 5 hit in both the US and the UK with a song called Black Is Black. The band, which in addition to its Spanish rhythm section (originally known as Los Sonor) included lead vocalist Mike Kogel, a West German who had hooked up with the band while on tour with his own group, Mike And The Runaways. Following the success of Black Is Black, Los Bravos recorded a string of singles for the British Decca label, including the Tom Jones influenced Going Nowhere, which was released in November of 1966.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Goin' Back (version one)
Source:    CD: The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    The Notorius Byrd Brothers, released in 1968, is considered by some to be the finest album in the group's catalog, despite the firing of core member David Crosby midway through the album. In fact, it was in part a disagreement between Crosby, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman over whether to include Crosby's Triad or the Gerry Goffin/ Carole King song Goin' Back on the album that led to Crosby's departure. With Crosby gone, Goin' Back ended up making the cut. The earlier version of the song heard here includes Crosby as a less than enthusiastic participant.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Change Is Now
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    McGuinn/Hillman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. Change Is Now was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Tribal Gathering/Dolphin's Smile
Source:    The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer(s):    Crosby/Hillman/McGuinn
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    In January of 1967 David Crosby attended something called "The Gathering of the Tribes: The Human Be-In" at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Crosby was so impressed by the event and those attending it that he wrote a song about the experience. Tribal Gathering was recorded by the Byrds on August 16, 1967, and included on the 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers, despite the fact that by the time the album was released Crosby had been fired by fellow band members Chris Hillman and Reoger McGuinn. Even more remarkable is the fact that the next track on the album, Dolphin's Smile, was also a Crosby composition. Both tracks have shared songwriting credits between Crosby and Hillman, with McGuinn's name appearing on Dolphin's Smile as well. Since both tracks were recorded on the same day, two months before Crosby left the group, it is possible that the co-writing credits were tacked on during overdub sessions later in the year. It wouldn't be the first time (according to Crosby) that the others took credit for his work.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    LP: Revisited (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of a tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
    Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold in most of the country.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Don't Bring Me Down
Source:    LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    I originally bought the Animals Animalization album in early 1967 and immediately fell in love with the first song, Don't Bring Me Down. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually liked.

Artist:    Nice
Title:    Flower King Of Flies
Source:    LP: Autumn To Spring (originally released on LP: The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack)
Writer(s):    Jackson/Emerson
Label:    Charisma (original label: Immediate)
Year:    1967
    The Nice, the first band to fuse rock, jazz and classical music, creating a totally new genre in the process, had rather unique origins. In 1966 Ike and Tina Turner did a tour of England, with their backup vocal group, the Ikettes, in tow. One of the Ikettes, P.P. Arnold, made such a strong impression on both Mick Jagger and his manager/producer, Andrew Loog Oldham, that they convinced her to stay in London and embark on a solo career. Starting in April of 1967, Oldham, who was in the process of setting up his own record label, set about putting together a band to back her up. Oldham's first recruit was bassist Lee Jackson of the local R&B group Gary Farr and the T-Bones. Jackson soon brought in former fellow T-Bone Keith Emerson, who was already getting a reputation as the London club circuit's hottest Hammond organ player. The two of them soon recruited guitarist Davy O'List and drummer Brian Davison to complete the new band, which Oldham had already decided would be called the Nice. To save money, Oldham, instead of hiring an opening act, let the Nice do a short warmup set before being joined by Arnold onstage. Since Arnold herself performed a fairly standard mix of R&B and soul songs, the Nice were encouraged to create something different for their own set. That "something different" ended up being a mix of jazz, classical and psychedelic rock that had never been heard before. It wasn't long before the Nice, with their new "progressive rock" sound, became a bigger attraction than Arnold herself, and by the end of the year the Nice had signed with Oldham's new label, Immediate Records. In December of 1967 The Thoughts Of Everlist Davjack (the title being an amalgamation of the members' last names) was released. Early releases of the album gave shared songwriting credits to the entire band. The 1973 LP Autumn To Spring, a compilation album that included several tracks from The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack, credits Emerson and Jackson as the writers of Flower King Of Flies.

Artist:    Lovecraft
Title:    The Dawn
Source:    LP: Superecord Contemporary (originally released on LP: Valley Of The Moon)
Writer(s):    Grebb/Wolfson
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    The original H.P. Lovecraft disbanded in 1969, following the release of their second LP. Two of the band's members, singer/songwriter George Edwards and drummer Michael Tegza, then formed a new band called simply Lovecraft. This band also included members from other Chicago area bands, including Aorta (guitarist Jim Donlinger and bassist Michael Been) and the Buckinghams (keyboardist Marty Grebb). By the time their only LP, Valley Of The Moon, was released however, the band had split up following a stint touring with Boz Scaggs and Leon Russell. Grebb, who co-wrote The Dawn, went on to become a member of Bonnie Raitt's band for 25 years.

Artist:    Changin' Tymes
Title:    Hark The Child
Source:    British import CD: Feeling High-The Psychedelic Sounds Of Memphis
Writer(s):    Barham/Ferrer/Frazier/Moore/Warner
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1969, released  2012
    Memphis, Tennessee, is a town known for its music. In particular, it is known for its vibrant blues scene, its classic R&B roots (as the home of Stax Records) and of course for some guy named Elvis. What Memphis is not particularly known for, however, is a psychedelic club scene. Nonetheless, like many other US cities in the late 1960s, Memphis did indeed boast a handful of truly psychedelic bands. One of the best of these was the Changin' Tymes, who recorded a pair of tracks for producer James Parks. One of these was later released on a single under the auspices of the Memphis Underground Music Association; the other, more overtly psychedelic track, was a tune called Hark The Child, which remained unreleased until 2012, when it appeared on a British CD dedicated to the Memphis psych scene. Enjoy!

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Magic Carpet Ride
Source:    LP: The ABC Collection(originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Moreve/Kay
Label:    ABC (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the psychedelic era itself. Although the original LP version of the song, which runs around four minutes, is now the one that gets played on the radio, there are some folks that prefer the much shorter single version of the song. The first stereo issue of that shorter version was on a mid-70s Steppenwolf compilation LP called The ABC Collection. Personally, I find the editing toward the end of the song to be a bit jarring.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic folk-rock to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Long Hot Summer Night
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    When Chas Chandler first discovered Jimi Hendrix playing at a club in New York's Greenwich Village in 1966, he knew that he had found one seriously talented guitarist. Within two years Hendrix would prove to be an outstanding songwriter, vocalist and producer as well. This was fortunate for Hendrix, as Chandler would part company with Hendrix during the making of the Electric Ladyland album, leaving Hendrix as sole producer. Chandler's main issue was the slow pace Hendrix maintained in the studio, often reworking songs while the tape was rolling, recording multiple takes until he got exactly what he wanted. Adding to the general level of chaos was Hendrix's propensity for inviting just about anyone he felt like to join him in the studio. Among all these extra people were some of the best musicians around, including keyboardist Al Kooper, whose work can be heard on Long Hot Summer Night.

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

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Wait Until Tomorrow
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Jimi Hendrix showed a whimsical side with Wait Until Tomorrow, a track from his second Jimi Hendrix Experience LP, Axis: Bold As Love. The song tells a story of a young man standing outside his girlfriend's window trying to convince her to run away from him. He gets continually rebuffed by the girl, who keeps telling him to Wait Until Tomorrow. Ultimately the girl's father resolves the issue by shooting the young man. The entire story is punctuated by outstanding distortion-free guitar work that showcases just how gifted Hendrix was on his chosen instrument. Why this song was never issued as a single is a mystery to me.


Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2218 (starts 4/25/22)

    Quite a few recent episodes of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion have started off somewhat structured, but by the end of the hour have gone completely free-form. This one is just the opposite, with a freeform set leading into a pair of Eurock tunes from the mid-1970s and finishing up with a progression that takes us from 1967 to 1971.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Immigrant Song
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Although the third Led Zeppelin album is known mostly for its surprising turn toward a more acoustic sound than its predecessors, the first single from that album actually rocked out as hard, if not harder, than any previous Zeppelin track. In fact, it could be argued that Immigrant Song rocks out harder than anything on top 40 radio before or since. Starting with a tape echo deliberately feeding on itself the song breaks into a basic riff built on two notes an octave apart, with Robert Plant's wailing vocals sounding almost like a siren call. Guitarist Jimmy Page soon breaks into a series of power chords that continue to build in intensity for the next two minutes, until the song abruptly stops cold. The lyrics of Immigrant Song were inspired by the band's trip to Iceland in 1970.

Artist:    Queen
Title:    Tie Your Mother Down
Source:    LP: A Day At The Races
Writer(s):    Brian May
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1976
    Following the commercial success of their fourth studio album, A Night At The Opera, with its hit single Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen got to work on a followup LP. Following the pattern set by the Marx Brothers, they decided to call the new album A Day At The Races. The LP, released in 1976, starts with a Brian May rocker calledTie Your Mother Down that became the album's second single. The song actually dates back to May's college days, when he was working on his Astronomy PhD. Vocalist Freddie Mercury said of the song: "Well this one in fact is a track written by Brian actually, I dunno why. Maybe he was in one of his vicious moods. I think he’s trying to out do me after Death On Two Legs actually." Death On Two Legs, of course, was Mercury's scathing indictment of Queen's former manager that had appeared on A Night At The Opera. Tie Your Mother Down was part of Queen's stage repertoire for several years, and got considerable airplay on FM rock radio in the US in the late 1970s. On the album the track is preceded by a slowly fading-in guitar intro that uses something called a Shepard tone. The same solo guitar piece appears at the end of the album as well, only this time fading out.

Artist:    Edgar Winter Group
Title:    Frankenstein (edited version)
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: They Only Come Out At Night. Edited version released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Edgar Winter
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Year:    1973
    A real monster hit (sorry, couldn't resist).

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Errors Of My Way
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Powell/Upton
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    Wishbone Ash was one of the first bands to feature dual lead guitars. This came about almost by accident, as the group had been looking for a lead guitarist but couldn't choose between the two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner. They decided to go with both, and, after Powell sat in with Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore during a soundcheck, the group was signed to MCA Records. Their debut LP (which was issued on MCA's Decca label in 1970) was an immediate success, and Wishbone Ash became one of the most popular hard rock bands of the early 1970s. Unlike many bands with two lead guitarists, Wishbone Ash emphasized harmony leads over individual solos, as can be heard on tracks like Errors Of My Way.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Flight Of The Phoenix
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1972
    After five successful albums produced by Terry Knight, the members of Grand Funk Railroad decided to go it alone for their 1972 LP Phoenix. The album was the first to include Craig Frost, who would eventually become a full member of the band, on keyboards, as can be heard on the LP's opening track, the instrumental Flight Of The Phoenix. Famed fiddler Doug Kershaw can also be heard on the track.

Artist:    Carpe Diem
Title:    Réincarnation
Source:    French import LP: En Regardant Passer Le Temps (also released in Canada as Way Out-As Time Goes By)
Writer(s):    Yeu/Truchy
Label:    Crypto (original label: Arcane)
Year:    1976
    The mid-1970s saw the rise of several bands that combined elements of rock, jazz and classical music with the latest electronic technology to create something entirely new. In Germany it came to be called Kraut-rock, while in other countries it went by names like art-rock, prog-rock, space-rock or even Eurock. The French Riviera was home to Carpe Diem (originally called Deis Corpus), who released two LPs. The first, En Regardant Passer Le Temps, was also released in Canada under the title Way Out-As Time Goes By. The longest track on the album is Réincarnation, which runs nearly thirteen minutes. Although the album went largely unnoticed when originally released in 1976, it has since come to be regarded as one of the lost classics of progressive rock.

Artist:    Triumvirat
Title:    Dimplicity
Source:    45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Fritz/Bathelt
Label:    Harvest
Year:    1974
    Triumvirat was formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1969 by keyboardist Hans-Jürgen Fritz (aka Jürgen Fritz), bassist/vocalist Werner Frangenberg, and drummer-percussionist-lyricist Hans Bathelt. Heavily influenced by Keith Emerson's bands the Nice and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the group's membership was in constant flux, with Fritz and Bathelt being joined by Helmut Köllen on vocals and Hans-Georg Pape on bass for their second LP, Illusions On A Dougle Dimple. The album itself is divided into two suites, each taking up one side of the original LP, but the Harvest label found a way to edit a portion of the first side down to less than three and a half minutes for release as a single called Dimplicity (the Dimplicity portion of the suite called Illusions On A Double Dimple runs in excess of five and a half minutes in length).

Artist:    Cream
Title:    We're Going Wrong
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer:    Jack Bruce
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    On Fresh Cream the slowest-paced tracks were bluesy numbers like Sleepy Time Time. For the group's second LP, bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce came up with We're Going Wrong, a song with a haunting melody supplemented by some of Eric Clapton's best guitar fills. Ginger Baker put away his drumsticks in favor of mallets, giving the song an otherworldly feel.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    I've Been Drinking
Source:    CD: Truth (bonus track originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Beck/Stewart
Label:    Epic/Legacy (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    In early 1968, a few months ahead of the release of Jeff Beck's debut solo LP, Truth, the British Columbia label issued Beck's cover version of the popular French instrumental by Paul Mauriot and his orchestra. As was often the case, producer Mickey Most chose the song for Beck to record, allowing Beck himself to come up with a B side for the single. That B side was I've Been Drinking, one of the earliest collaborations between Beck and vocalist Rod Stewart. The track features the same personnel as the Truth album, including Stewart on vocals, Ron Wood on bass, Mickey Waller on drums and guests Madeline Bell on background vocals and Nicky Hopkins on piano.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Be Careful With A Fool
Source:    British import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s):    King/Josea
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Johnny Winter's first album for Columbia (his second overall) is nothing less than a blues masterpiece. Accompanied by bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner, Winter pours his soul into classics like B.B. King's Be Careful With A Fool, maybe even improving on the original (if such a thing is possible).

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Hi Ho Silver (Honey Hush)
Source:    LP: Kiln House
Writer(s):    Joe Turner
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    After the departure of founder Peter Green in 1969, the remaining members of Fleetwood Mac and their families moved into a converted oast house (a building designed for kilning hops as part of the brewing process) for the next six months to work on the next album, appropriately titled Kiln House. With Green gone guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Jeremy Spencer took a more active role in the making of Kiln House, reflected in the group's choice to record songs like Big Joe Turner's Honey Hush. For reasons unknown, however, the song appeared on the album under the title Hi Ho Silver and was erroneously credited to Fats Waller, who died ten years before the song was written. Spencer would leave Fleetwood Mac the following year in the middle of a US tour to join the Children Of God and eventually embark upon a less than stellar solo career.

Artist:    Cactus
Title:    Long Tall Sally
Source:    British import LP: The New Age Of Atlantic (originally released on LP: One Way...Or Another)
Writer(s):    Penniman/Johnson/Blackwell
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    The second Cactus album, One Way...Or Another, followed the same pattern as the first one: a bunch of original tunes supplemented by a pair of old rock 'n' roll tunes redone in a style reminiscent of some of Vanilla Fudge's harder rocking tracks. This makes sense, since half of Cactus (bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice) were members of Vanilla Fudge before forming Cactus in the first place. In this instance the first of the two covers was a slowed-down and louded-up version of Little Richard's Long Tall Sally. Heavy stuff.


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2217 (starts 4/18/22)

    This week we present our first "Battle Of The Bands" to NOT feature the Rolling Stones. Instead, we have the Beatles going up against guitarist Jimi Hendrix, who brings a few friends with him, including Buddy Miles, Jack Casady and Steve Winwood. Also this week, the first (but not last) appearance on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era of the Luv'd Ones, one of the first all-female rock bands to play their own instruments. Plus, artists' sets from the Animals and the Byrds, along with the usual mix of A&B sides and album tracks from both sides of the Atlantic.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
Source:    LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    Following a downward slide starting in 1968, the Doors ended their original run on a high note in 1971 with the L.A. Woman album. Among the strong blues-based tracks on the album is The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat), an anthemic number that ranks up with other Doors album classics such as Five To One, When The Music's Over and The End. Big Beat indeed.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:    Helpless
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Many of the songs on the second Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album, Deja Vu, sound as if they could have been on solo albums by the various band members, particularly Neil Young, whose style really didn't mesh well with the others. A prime example of this is Helpless. Despite this (or maybe because of it) Helpless got more radio airplay than most of the other songs on the album.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    And She's Lonely
Source:    CD: One Step Beyond
Writer(s):    Loomis/Tolby
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1969
    The Chocolate Watchband went through more than its share of personnel changes over its short life, with a different lineup in place pretty much every time they walked into a recording studio. Interestingly enough, the lineup for their third and final LP, One Step Beyond, included several members that had, at one time or another, left the band, only to return by 1968. These included two of the founding members, vocalist Danny Phay and guitarist Ned Tormey (who had left the group before it got off the ground) as well as the group's original leader, Mark Loomis, who, along with drummer Gary Andrijasevich, had left after the band's first LP was released. As frontman Dave Aguilar had also left the group, it looked like the Watchband was history. However, the band still had a month's worth of gigs lined up, and so the remaining two members, guitarist Sean Tolby and bassist Bill Flores, recruited three new members to carry on the Watchband name until the fall of 1967. A year later Tolby and Flores got the word that producer Ed Cobb and Tower Records wanted to release a third Chocolate Watchband album, so the two of them brought the above-mentioned former members (but not Aguilar) back to record a far different sounding album than what had gone before. One major difference is that, unlike on the first two albums, which included several filler tracks by studio musicians, all the songs on One Step Beyond were performed by the band members themselves. Also, the album was made up mostly of original material, such as And She's Lonely, written by Loomis and Tolby. The album did not sell well, however, and the Watchband disbanded for a third time in 1970.

Artist:    Luv'd Ones
Title:    Dance Kid Dance
Source:    Mono CD: Truth Gotta Stand (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Char Vinnedge
Label:    Beat Rocket (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    In 1963, 20-year-old Char Vinnedge of Niles, Michigan, who had been playing piano since the age of four, helped her brother pick out an Airline guitar from Montgomery Ward. It soon became apparent that he was never going to learn to the play the thing, however, and Char ended up buying it from him. She soon found that she had an affinity for the instrument, and by 1964 had recruited her younger sister Faith (who chose to play bass because that was what Paul McCartney played), along with drummer Faith Orem and rhythm guitarist Terry Barber, to form a group called the Tremelons. Barber soon left the group, to be replaced by Mary Gallagher, and in 1966 the band was signed to Chicago's Dunwich Records, changing their name to the Luv'd Ones at the suggestion of label owner Bill Traut. They ended up releasing three singles for Dunwich that year, the last of which was Dance Kid Dance. After the Luv'd Ones disbanded, Vinnedge spent the next few years studying and deconstructing the music of Jimi Hendrix, eventually coming to the attention of bassist Billy Cox and recording an album called Nitro Function with him in 1971.

Artist:      Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     Kicks
Source:      Mono LP: Midnight Ride (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Kicks may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top in both countries five years later.
Artist:    Harbinger Complex
Title:    I Think I'm Down
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hockstaff/Hoyle
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Brent)
Year:    1966
    Most garage/club bands never made it beyond a single or two for a relatively small independent label. Freemont, California's Harbinger Complex is a good example. The group was one of many that were signed by Bob Shad, owner of Mainstream Records and its various subsidiary labels such as Time and Brent. The band had already released one single on the independent Amber label and were recording at Golden State Recorders in San Francisco when they were discovered by Shad, who signed them to Brent. The band's first single for the label was the British-influenced I Think I'm Down, which came out in 1966 and was included on Mainstream's 1967 showcase album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers.

Artist:    Golden Earrings
Title:    Daddy Buy Me A Girl
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Holland as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Gerritson/Kooymans
Label:    Rhino (original label: Polydor)
Year:    1966
    Years before Radar Love made them international stars, Golden Earring had an 's' on the end of their name and was one of Holland's most popular beat bands, thanks to songs like Daddy Buy Me A Girl, which takes the usual "poor boy out to prove he's worthy of the rich girl" theme and turns it on its head, with the singer complaining that everyone just likes him for his money and not for himself. The song, released in 1966, was the group's fourth single for Polydor International.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Mellow Yellow
Source:    Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Although the Mellow Yellow album came out in early 1967, the title track had been released several months earlier as a followup to Donovan's breakthrough US hit Sunshine Superman. Ironically, during Donovan's period of greatest US success none of his recordings were being released in his native UK, due to his ongoing contract dispute with Pye Records.

Artist:     Buffalo Springfield
Title:     Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Source:     CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:     Atco
Year:     1966
     One of the most influential folk-rock bands to come out of the L.A. scene was the Buffalo Springfield. The Springfield had several quality songwriters, including Neil Young, whose voice was deemed "too weird" by certain record company people. Thus we have Richie Furay handling the lead vocals on Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing, the group's debut single. The track was just one of several Young songs sung by Furay on the band's first album. By the time the second Buffalo Springfield album was released things had changed somewhat, and Young got to do his own lead vocals on songs like Mr. Soul and Broken Arrow.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1965
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page and had shifted musical gears).

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Flying High
Source:    CD: 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:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Piece Of My Heart
Source:     CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer:     Ragovoy/Burns
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1968
     By 1968 Big Brother and the Holding Company, with their charismatic vocalist from Texas, Janis Joplin, had become as popular as fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Somehow, though, they were still without a major label record deal. That all changed with the release of Cheap Thrills, with cover art by the legendary underground comix artist R. Crumb. The album itself was a curious mixture of live performances and studio tracks, the latter being led by the band's powerful cover of the 1966 Barbara Lynn tune Piece Of My Heart. The song propelled the band, and Joplin, to stardom. That stardom would be short-lived for most of the band members, however, as well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed advice-givers convinced Joplin that Big Brother was holding her back. The reality was that the band was uniquely suited to support her better than anyone she would ever work with again.
Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals 1966-1968 (originally released on LP: Animalization and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals (and the first to use the name Eric Burdon And The Animals on the label), See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Hotel Hell
Source:     British import CD: Winds Of Change
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Repertoire (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1967
     The first album by the New Animals (generally known as Eric Burdon and the Animals) was Winds of Change, issued in mid-1967. Although the album was not particularly well-received at the time, it has, in more recent years, come to be regarded as a classic. Hotel Hell is a moody piece that showcases Eric Burdon's contemplative side.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    A Girl Named Sandoz
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    The original Animals officially disbanded at the end of 1966, but before long a new group, Eric Burdon And The Animals, had arrived to take its place. Unlike the original Animals, this new band wrote nearly all their own material, with credits going to the entire membership on every song. The first single from this new band was a song called When I Was Young, a semi-autobiographical piece with lyrics by Burdon that performed decently, if not spectacularly, on the charts in both the US and the UK. It was the B side of that record, however, a tune called A Girl Named Sandoz, that truly indicated what this new band was about. Sandoz was the name of the laboratory that originally developed and manufactured LSD, and the song itself is a thinly-veiled tribute to the mind-expanding properties of the wonder drug. It would soon become apparent that whereas the original Animals were solidly rooted in American R&B (with the emphasis on the B), this new group was pure acid-rock.

Artist:    4 Seasons
Title:    Searching Wind
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Born To Wander)
Writer(s):    Crewe/Gaudio
Label:    Philips
Year:    1964
    In 1964 the word "rock" was not considered a musical term. Rock 'n' Roll, which had flourished in the mid 1950s, had given way to what was generally known as "pop" music (short for popular, I assume). Stars like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis had been replaced by "safer" stars like Frankie Avalon and Chubby Checker. The original doo-wop groups, nearly all of which had been black, had been replaced as well by groups like New Jersey's 4 Seasons. Fronted by high tenor Frankie Valli and powered by the songwriting team of Bob Gaudio and producer Bob Crewe, the 4 Seasons were one of the most successful vocal groups of the mid-1960s, with hits like Sherry, Rag Doll and Big Girls Don't Cry being mainstays of top 40 radio. Like most pop stars, they concentrated mainly on singles, but, being as popular as they were, also recorded several albums. Not all of these albums were hit-oriented, however. Folk music was still going strong in 1964, and, in addition to the hard-core folk artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Phil Ochs, there were several "safer" folk-oriented groups like the Lamplighters and the New Christy Minstrels recording albums for a more mainstream audience. Additionally, an occasional pop star would do an album of "folky" material as well; on such album was Born To Wander, by the 4 Seasons. I have to admit that I have never heard Born To Wander, and would never go out of my way to find a copy of it. I did, however, pick up a copy of the 1965 hit Bye Bye Baby in what was known back in the day as a "grab bag": a random set of 45s, usually cut-outs that were no longer on the charts, the identity of which were obscured by the packaging itself; often just a brown paper bag, but sometimes displaying the first and/or last record in the set. The B side of Bye Bye Baby was Searching Wind, a Gaudio/Crewe composition from Born To Wander that grabbed me (sorry about the pun there) far more than Bye Bye Baby ever did. I recently found a pristine copy of that single, so here, in all its monoraul glory, is Searching Wind.

Artist:    Monks
Title:    Cuckoo
Source:    Mono German import CD: Black Monk Time (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Burger/Clark/Day/Johnson/Shaw
Label:    Repertoire (original label Polydor)
Year:    1966
    The Monks were formed in Germany by five American GIs stationed in Frankfurt. Right from the start, the Monks had a look and sound that was unlike anything that had come before. With military haircuts supplemented by shaved patches at the top and wearing black gowns with a hangman's noose for a necktie, the Monks spat out angry tunes centered on the dark side of human nature. Although they were enough of a curiosity to attract live audiences, their records did not sell particularly well, and for their second single, a song called I Can't Get Over You, they toned it down a touch. The B side, however, a track called Cuckoo, retains much of the energy that made the Monks true pioneers of punk-rock years before the term would come into common usage.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love Me Do (Ringo on drums version)
Source:    Mono LP: Rarities (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI (original UK label: Parlophone)
Year:    1962
    The Beatles made three recordings of their debut single, Love Me Do. The first version of the song (which had actually been written before the Beatles even existed) was made on June 6, 1962  for the band's EMI Artist Test with Pete Best playing drums. Although the band passed the audition, they decided to change drummers soon after the audition, replacing Best with Ringo Starr. On September 4, 1962 they returned to EMI studios for their first official recording session and cut the song a second time, this time with Ringo on drums. Producer George Martin was not entirely satisfied with Ringo's drumming on the recording, and so the song was recut a week later, on September 11, 1962, with studio drummer Andy White (Ringo played tambourine on this version). The single was first issued on October 5th of that year, using the version with Ringo on drums. That version was soon replaced, however, with the Alan White version, which was included on the band's 1963 debut LP Please Please Me, as well as the first pressings of Vee Jay's Introducing...The Beatles LP and the US single version of the song released on the Tollie label.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
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. 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. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Across The Universe
Source:    CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released on LP: No One's Gonna Change Our World)
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Regal Starline)
Year:    1969
    Across The Universe was recorded in 1968 and was in serious contention for release as a single that year (ultimately Lady Madonna was chosen instead). The recording sat in the vaults until 1969, when it was included on a multi-artist charity album for the World Wildlife Fund (hence the sounds of flapping wings at the beginning and end of the track). Phil Spector would eventually get his hands on the master tape, slowing it down and adding strings and including it on the Let It Be album. Personally I prefer this relatively untampered-with version.

Artist:      Jimi Hendrix Experience (sort of)
Title:    Rainy Day, Dream Away
Source:      CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1968
     Although officially credited to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Rainy Day, Dream Away actually has several guest musicians appearing on it, including Electric Flag drummer Buddy Miles, who would later be a member of Hendrix's short-lived Band of Gypsys and then have some success as leader of his own band. Also featured on the track are Mike Finnegan on organ, Freddie Smith on tenor sax, and Larry Faucette on congas. It's unclear whether regular Experience bassist Noel Redding or Hendrix himself provided bass parts on the track (or even if there is a bass track, as Finnegan could have been playing a Ray Manzarek style bassline on the keyboards for all I know).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    The Inner Light
Source:    CD: Past Masters Vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Prior to 1968, no George Harrison song had ever appeared on 45 RPM vinyl in the US (a couple had shown up in other parts of the world as EP tracks, however). His first was The Inner Light, issued as the B side of Lady Madonna in March of 1968. The Inner Light is the only Beatles studio recording made outside of Europe. Harrison recorded the instrumental tracks in Bombay in January of 1968, while he was putting together tracks for his Wonderwall Music solo album. The lyrics come from the Tao Te Ching, a Taoist poem that had been translated from Sanskrit in 1958.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience (again, sort of)
Title:    Voodoo Chile
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Midway through the making of the Electric Ladyland album, producer Chas Chandler parted ways with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. At first this may seem to be a mystery, but consider the situation: Hendrix, by this time, had considerable clout in the studio. This allowed him to invite pretty much anyone he damn well pleased to hang out while he was making records, including several fellow musicians. It also allowed him the luxury of using the studio itself as a kind of incubator for new ideas, often developing those ideas while the tape machine was in "record" mode. Chandler, on the other hand, had learned virtually everything he knew about producing records from Mickie Most, one of Britain's most successful producers. As such, Chandler tended to take a more professional approach to recording, finding Hendrix's endless jamming to be a waste of valuable studio time. Whether you side with Chandler or Hendrix over the issue, there is one thing that can't be disputed: the Hendrix approach resulted in some of the most memorable rock recordings ever made. Case in point: Voodoo Chile, a nearly fifteen minute long studio jam featuring Jack Cassidy (Jefferson Airplane) on bass and Steve Winwood (Traffic) on keyboards, as well as regular Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    She Don't Care About Time
Source:    Mono CD: Turn! Turn! Turn! (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Gene Clark
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1965
    The Byrds scored two # 1 hits in 1965, Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!. Both songs came from outside sources (Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger), despite the fact that they Byrds had a wealth of songwriting talent of their own. Gene Clark in particular was writing quality originals such as She Don't Care About Time, which was issued as the B side to Turn! Turn! Turn! but was inexplicably left off the LP. More recently the song has been included as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of the album.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    Simulated Stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Priority (origina label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
     After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the band turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics taken directly from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song. The song was never mixed in true stereo, forcing the band's record label to use a simulated stereo mix on stereo copies of the LP. Once monoraul albums were phased out in the late 1960s, this "fake" stereo version remained the only one available for many years, appearing on various compilations before a mid-1990s remaster of the Turn! Turn! Turn! album used the original mono mix.

Artist:     Byrds
Title:     The Times They Are A-Changin'
Source:     CD: Turn! Turn! Turn!
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     1965
     In their early days the Byrds established themselves as the premier interpreters of Bob Dylan songs, helping to popularize the folk-rock movement in the process. Although not released as a single, The Times They Are A-Changin' was a staple of the band's live sets at Ciro's Le Disc on Sunset Strip and on the road.

Artist:    Castaways
Title:    Liar Liar
Source:    LP: KHJ Boss Goldens Volume 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    James Donna
Label:    Original Sound (original label: Soma)
Year:    1965
     The Castaways were a popular local band in the Minneapolis area led by keyboardist James Donna, who, for slightly less than two minutes at a time, dominated the national airwaves in 1965 with their song Liar Liar for a couple months before fading off into obscurity.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Dandy
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Pye; original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Ray Davies was well into his satirical phase when he wrote and recorded Dandy for the Kinks' 1966 album Face To Face. The song was a top 10 single in the UK, but was only available as an album track in the US. Later that year the song was covered by Herman's Hermits, becoming a hit on the US top 40 charts (but not in England).

Artist:    Teddy And His Patches
Title:    Suzy Creamcheese
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Conway
Label:    Rhino (original label: Chance)
Year:    1967
    Teddy And His Patches were a group of high school students who heard the phrase "Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you" from a fellow San Jose, California resident and decided to make a song out of it. Reportedly none of the band members had ever heard the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out, where the phrase had originated. Nonetheless, they managed to turn out a piece of inspired madness worthy of Frank Zappa himself.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Child Of The Moon (rmk)
Source:     CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Jagger/Richards
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1968
    Child Of The Moon was originally released as the B side to the Stones' 1968 comeback single, Jumpin' Jack Flash. The song is now available as part of a box set called Singles Collection-The London Years. This track, which is in stereo, has the letters rmk (lower case) following the song title, which leads me to wonder if maybe it is a remake rather than the original recording. I do have a copy of the original 45, but its condition is such that I would rather not use it if I don't have to. As was the case with many of the Stones' 60s recordings, the band is joined by keyboardist Nicky Hopkins on this one.

Rockin in the Earth Days of Confusion (starts 4/18/22) 

    This week, in celebration of Earth Day, we take a look back at some of the earliest songs to show an awareness of environmental issues. The first set is pretty straightforward, with Joni Mitchell's original studio version of Big Yellow Taxi setting the tone. Our second set is more speculative, with songwriters like Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young letting their imaginations run wild. We wrap up the show with a 13-minute long version of Memphis Slim's classic Mother Earth, from the album Eric Burdon Declares War. Here's the complete lineup:

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Big Yellow Taxi
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Ladies Of The Canyon)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    One of Joni Mitchell's best-known tunes, Big Yellow Taxi was originally released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. The original studio version of the song hit the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the UK and Mitchell's native Canada, but only reached the #67 spot in the US. A later live version of the song, however, cracked the top 30 in the US in 1974. Mitchell says she was inspired to write the song on a visit to Hawaii, where she looked out her hotel window to view a mountain vista in the distance, only to be shocked back to reality when she looked down to see a parking lot "as far as the eye could see".

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Nature's Way
Source:    CD: Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer:    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    Nature's Way is one of the best-known and best-loved songs in the Spirit catalog. Originally released on the 1970 LP Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, the song was finally issued as a single in 1973, long after lead vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes had left Spirit to form Jo Jo Gunne.

Artist:    Marvin Gaye
Title:    Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Source:    LP: What's Going On
Writer(s):    Marvin Gaye
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1971
    No show celebrating Earth Day would be complete without Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). Released as the second single from the 1971 LP What's Going On, the song is considered one of Marvin Gaye's greatest songs and an anthem of the environmental movement.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Eskimo Blue Day
Source:    CD: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Slick/Kantner
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1969
    Jefferson Airplane's sixth LP, Volunteers, was by far their most socio-political album, from the first track (We Can Be Together, with its famous "up against the wall" refrain) to the last (the song Volunteers itself). One of the more controversial tracks on the 1969 album is Eskimo Blue Day, which describes just how meaningless human concerns are in the greater scheme of things with the repeated use of the phrase "doesn't mean shit to a tree". Eskimo Blue Day was one of two songs from Volunteers performed by the Airplane at Woodstock.

Artist:    Queen
Title:    The Prophet's Song
Source:    LP: A Night At The Opera
Writer(s):    Brian May
Label:    Virgin (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1975
    When Queen's landmark LP, A Night At The Opera, was released in 1975, much attention was focused on the album's penultimate track, Freddy Mercury's Bohemian Rhapsody, which went all the way to the top of the British top 40 charts and is one of the most recognizable recordings of the 20th century. With all this attention focused on one song (albeit deservedly), several other outstanding tracks on the album have been somewhat neglected. Perhaps the best of these overlooked tracks is The Prophet's Song, a Brian May composition that opens side two of the vinyl LP. At over eight minutes in length, The Prophet's Song is Queen's longest song with vocals, and, like Bohemian Rhapsody, features layered overdubs by Mercury, including a fairly long acappella section in the middle of the track. The song also has powerful dynamics, ranging from the almost inaudible acoustic guitar and toy koto introduction to high volume electric lead guitar work set against a heavy metal background. As if that were not enough, The Prophet's Song also has a powerful message, making it one of Queen's most important works.

Artist:    Zager And Evans
Title:    In The Year 2525
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Rick Evans
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    Since the advent of rock and roll in the 1950s there have been literally hundreds of one-hit wonders, artists who had one fairly big hit and then faded off into the background. Usually these artists recorded one or more a follow-up records that got minor airplay (and sometimes even major airplay in a limited number of markets), but were not successful enough to make a long-term career of it. A few of them get cited as the "ultimate" one-hit wonder, but for my money the title undisputedly belongs to folk-rockers Zager And Evans. The reason I say this is because they were more extreme than any other one-hit wonders, both in their success and their subsequent failures. The success part is impressive: In The Year 2525 spent six weeks in the number one spot on the US charts and finished second only to the 5th Dimension's Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In for the entire year 1969. Their subsequent failures were equally impressive: not only did they fail to crack the top 40 charts again, they couldn't even make the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making them the only artists in history to have a #1 hit without ever making another chart appearance.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) from the Electric Ladyland album is the longest work created purely in the studio by Jimi Hendrix, with a running time of over 16 minutes. The piece starts with tape effects that lead into the song's main guitar rift. The vocals and drums join in to tell a science fiction story set in a future world where the human race has had to move underwater in order to survive some unspecified catastrophe. After a couple verses, the piece goes into a long unstructured section made up mostly of guitar effects before returning to the main theme and closing out with more effects that combine volume control and stereo panning to create a circular effect. As is the case with several tracks on Electric Ladyland, 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) features Hendrix on both guitar and bass, with Mitch Mitchell on drums and special guest Chris Wood (from Traffic) on flute.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    After The Gold Rush
Source:    CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Once upon a time Dean Stockwell and Herb Bermann wrote a screenplay for a movie to be called After The Gold Rush. Neil Young read the script and decided that he wanted to do the soundtrack for the film, which Stockwell described as "sort of an end-of-the-world movie. I was gonna write a movie that was personal, a Jungian self-discovery of the gnosis... it involved the Kabala (sic), it involved a lot of arcane stuff." The movie was never made, and even the script is now long lost. However, Young did manage to write a couple of songs for the film, including the title track itself, which became the title track of his third album. The song itself describes a dream vision about the past, present and future of earth's environment. Young still performs After The Gold Rush, although he has updated one of the song's most famous lines ("Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s") by replacing the words "the 1970s" with "the 21st century".

Artist:    Eric Burdon And War
Title:    Blues For Memphis Slim
Source:    LP: Eric Burdon Declares "War"
Writer(s):    War/Peter Chapman
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1970
    "When the acid trip is over, you've got to come back to Mother Blues." Eric Burdon's ad-libbed line from the track Blues From Memphis Slim, pretty much sums up the state of the former Animals lead vocalist's career as of 1970. The original Animals had been founded with the blues in mind, with the band members, including Burdon, preferring the cover tunes of artists like John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed featured on their albums to the hit singles provided to the band by their producer, Mickey Most. Finally, in 1966, the group officially disbanded, just as Burdon was discovering the mind-expanding qualities of hallucinogenic substances (he had been a hard drinker up to that point). In early 1967 Burdon formed a "New Animals" that would soon come to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals. This band had little in common with the original Animals (other than Burdon's distinctive vocals), and was, by any measure, pure acid rock. But after a couple of albums, even that group started to change, taking on more of an R&B sound with tracks like their extended version of River Deep, Mountain High. Finally, in 1969, this group disbanded as well, leaving Burdon and his producer, Jerry Goldstein, looking for a new band and a new sound for the singer. They found it in a Los Angeles nightclub, where a band called Nightshift was backing up former football star Deacon Jones. Burdon and Goldstein persuaded the multi-racial band to change their name to War, and got to work on an album called Eric Burdon Declares "War". The album featured mostly suites such as Blues For Memphis Slim, which was built around the bluesman's classic Mother Earth, with several added instrumental sections composed by the band. At thirteen and a half minutes, it is the longest track on the album. After a second album with the group (The double-LP The Black Man's Burdon), Eric Burdon left the group, leaving War to become one of the more popular bands of the 1970s.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2216 (starts 4/11/22)

    This week's journey into the Psychedelic Era includes three artists' sets, quite a few album tracks, and a handful of obscure British singles, along with a helping of more familiar tunes.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's last remaining pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a blind deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his "deaf, dumb and blind" condition.

Artist:    Idle Race
Title:    Days Of The Broken Arrows
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):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1969
    The Idle Race had already released one LP and four singles when they came out with Days Of The Broken Arrows in early 1969. Lead vocalist Jeff Lynne, who wrote and produced the song, was disappointed with the single's performance, and after releasing a second album late in the year he announced that he was leaving the Idle Race to join his friend Roy Wood's band, the Move. Eventually Lynne came to dominate the Move and saw that band evolve into the Electric Light Orchestra. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the Idle Race stayed together, finally becoming the Steve Gibbons Band in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Collectors
Title:    Sheep On The Hillside
Source:    LP: Grass And Wild Strawberries
Writer(s):    The Collectors
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1969
    The Collectors made their debut in 1961 as the C-FUN Classics, the house band for CFUN radio in Vancouver, British Columbia. In 1966 they changed their name to the Collectors and released a single, Looking At A Baby, on the Valiant label. This was followed by a self-titled album for Warner Brothers in 1967. Around this time the group was hired to provide the instrumental backing for the Electric Prunes album Mass In F Minor (after producer Dave Hassinger decided that the music written for the album by David Axelrod was too complex for the Prunes themselves to play). In 1969 the Collectors collaborated with Canadian playwrite George Ryga to create music for his play Grass And Wild Strawberries. The songs, including Sheep On The Hillside, were released on an album of the same name in 1969. Not long after Grass And Wild Strawberries was released, original lead vocalist Howie Vickers left the band, which, now fronted by guitarist Bill Henderson, began calling itself Chilliwack.

Artist:    Gentrys
Title:    Spread It On Thick
Source:    Mono CD: Battle Of The Bands-Vol. Two (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wilkins/Hurley/Cates
Label:    Era (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1965
    Known by most people as one-hit wonders, the Gentrys, formed in Memphis in 1963, were actually the most popular teen band in the mid-south during the 1960s. After winning the Memphis Battle of the Bands in 1964 the Gentrys were signed to the local Youngstown label. Their second single for Youngstown, Keep On Dancing, released in 1965, was soon picked up for national distribution by M-G-M, eventually reaching the #4 spot on the Billboard charts. This led to several movie and TV appearances, along with touring with the likes of the Beach Boys and Sonny And Cher. Despite all this, their next single, Spread It On Thick, failed to make the top 40. After four more singles (and two LPs) suffered similar fates the group disbanded, only to be reformed several times over the years. One unique feature of the Gentrys' 7-man lineup was the fact that there were two vocalists who did not play any instruments in the band. One of them, Jimmy Hart, went on to become involved in professional wrestling as a manager known as "the Mouth of the South".

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    No Escape
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer(s):    Saxon/Savage/Lawrence
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    Following up on their 1965 Los Angeles area hit Can't Seem To Make You Mine, the Seeds released their self-titled debut LP the following year. The album contained what would be the band's biggest (and only national) hit, Pushin' Too Hard, as well as several other tracks such as No Escape that can be considered either as stylistic consistent or blatantly imitative of the big hit record. As Pushin' Too Hard was not yet a well-known song when the album was released, I tend to lean more toward the first interpretation.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Strawberry Fields Forever
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The first song recorded for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, Strawberry Fields Forever was instead issued as a single (along with Penny Lane) a few months before the album came out. The song went into the top 10, but was not released on an album until December of 1967, when it was included on the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

Artist:    Crazy World Of Arthur Brown
Title:    Spontaneous Apple Creation
Source:    British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released on LP: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown)
Writer(s):    Brown/Crane
Label:    Uncut (original US label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    One of the most revered examples of British psychedelia is the 1968 album The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. While side one was done as a concept album about Hell, side two was a mixture of original tunes and the most popular cover songs from the band's live repertoire. Among the originals on side two is Spontaneous Apple Creation, possibly the most avant-garde piece on the album. Once you hear it, you'll know exactly what I mean by that.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    The US and UK versions of the Are You Experienced differed considerably. For one thing, three songs that had been previously released as singles in the UK (where single tracks and albums were mutually exclusive) were added to the US version of the album, replacing UK album tracks. Another rather significant difference is that the UK version of the album was originally issued only in mono. When the 4-track master tapes arrived in the US, engineers at Reprise Records created new stereo mixes of all the songs, including Foxy Lady, which had led off the UK version of Are You Experience but had been moved to a spot near the end of side two on the US album. The original mono single mix of Foxy Lady, meanwhile, was issued as a single in the US, despite the song being only available as an album track in the UK.
Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Love Is Only Sleeping
Source:    CD: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1967
    Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead of Love Is Only Sleeping, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single. 

Artist:    Chambers Brothers
Title:    Time Has Come Today
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The Time Has Come)
Writer(s):    Joe and Willie Chambers
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the quintessential songs of the psychedelic era is the Chambers Brothers' classic Time Has Come Today. The song was originally recorded and issued as a single in 1966. The more familiar version heard here, however, was recorded in 1967 for the album The Time Has Come. The LP version of the song runs about eleven minutes, way too long for a 45 RPM record, so before releasing the song as a single for the second time, engineers at Columbia cut the song down to around 3 minutes. The edits proved so jarring that the record was recalled and a re-edited version, clocking in at 4:57 became the third and final single version of the song, hitting the charts in 1968.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Here Comes The Night
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Bert Berns
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1965
    Them's first album was originally released in the UK as The Angry Young Them, and did not include the single Here Comes The Night. Originally recorded by Lulu (of To Sir With Love fame) and the Luvvers, this track was not only added to the US version of the LP (retitled simply Them), it was given the coveted opening slot. The guitar leads on Here Comes The Night were provided by a young studio guitarist named Jimmy Page.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Turn Into Earth
Source:    CD: Roger The Engineer (original US LP title: Over Under Sideways Down)
Writer(s):    The Yardbirds
Label:    Great American Music (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    It may come as a surprise to American listeners that the Yardbirds, one of the most influential bands of the British Invasion, only recorded one studio album during their entire existence. Of course that didn't stop their manager/producer Giorgio Gomelsky from issuing no less than three Yardbirds on the Epic label in the US, but two of those were actually collections of songs that had been issued in the UK as singles, B sides and EP tracks. The one true Yardbirds studio LP was originally called simply The Yardbirds when it was released in the UK in July of 1966, and was retitled Over Under Sideways Down when it came out in the US, Canada, France and Germany a month later. That album has since come to be known as Roger The Engineer, due to the hand drawn caricature of engineer Roger Cameron by guitarist Chris Dreja that graced the original British album cover. Most of the songs on the album were composed in the studio, including Turn Into Earth, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the song Still I'm Sad, which had been released as a B side in 1965.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: No Way Out)
Writer(s):    McElroy/Bennett
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    It took me several years to sort out the convoluted truth behind the recorded works of San Jose, California's most popular local band, the Chocolate Watchband (or Chocolate Watch Band; I still haven't figured out which version is correct). While it's true that much of what was released under their name was in truth the work of studio musicians, there are a few tracks that are indeed the product of Dave Aguilar and company. Are You Gonna Be There, a song used in the cheapie teenspliotation flick The Love-In and included on the Watchband's first album, is one of those few. Even more ironic is the fact that the song was co-written by Don Bennett, the studio vocalist whose voice was substituted for Aguilar's on a couple of other songs from the same album.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    Man Who Paints The Pictures
Source:    LP: Fever Tree
Writer(s):    Hlotzman/Holtzman/Michaels
Label:    Uni
Year:    1968
    Fever Tree is one of those bands that bridges the gap from the psychedelic rock of the late 60s to the progressive rock of the early 70s. Formed in Houston, the band recorded a couple of singles for Bob Shad's Mainstream label, both of which were successful enough for their producers, the husband and wife team of Scott and Vivian Holtzman, to move the band to Los Angeles, where they signed with Uni Records (now known as MCA). Fever Tree's 1968 debut LP for Uni featured arrangements by David Angel, who had provided string and horn arrangements for the critically-acclaimed Love album, Forever Changes, the previous year. Overall, side one is the stronger side of the LP, featuring the band's best-known song, San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native), and the hard-rocking Man Who Paints The Pictures, among others.

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

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    A Gazelle
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released in US on EP: Mad River)
Writer(s):    Lawrence Hammond
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Wee)
Year:    1967
    Mad River was formed in 1965 in Yellow Spings, Ohio, as the Mad River Blues Band. The group (after several personnel changes) relocated to the Berkeley, California in spring of 1967, and soon began appearing at local clubs, often alongside Country Joe And The Fish. Around this time the band came into contact with Lonnie Hewitt, a jazz musician who had started his own R&B-oriented label, Wee. After auditioning for Fantasy Records, the band decided instead to finance their own studio recordings, which were then issued as a three-song EP on Wee. With all their material having been written and arranged before the band left Ohio, and then perfected over a period of months, Mad River's EP was far more musically complex than what was generally being heard in the Bay Area at the time. The opening track, Amphetamine Gazell (the title having been temporarily shortened to A Gazelle for the EP) contains several starts and stops, as well as time changes. Bassist Lawrence Hammond's high pitched, almost operatic, vocal style actually enhances the lyrics, which drummer Greg Dewey described as "a teenager's idea of what it must be like to be hip and cool in California". The song was recut (with its original title restored and even more abrupt starts and stops), for Mad River's Capitol debut LP the following year.

Artist:    Ipsissimus
Title:    Hold On
Source:    Mono import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Haskell/Condor/Lynton
Label:    Zonophone UK (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1969
    The song Hold On was originally recorded as a B side in 1967 by a band called Les Fleur De Lys, although the label credited the track to Rupert's People, who recorded the A side of the record. Le Fleur De Lys later recorded another version of Hold On with South African-born singer Sharon Tandy. Finally, the heaviest version of the song was cut by an obscure band from Barnet called Ipsissimus. To my knowledge it was their only record.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Source:    CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    In the wake of the massive success of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album deja vu, each of the band members were given the opportunity to record solo albums. Neil Young, being the only member to have already released two solo LPs, chose to base his work on a screenplay by Dean Stockwell and Herb Bermann for a proposed film to be called After The Gold Rush. Although the film was never made, Young liked the title, and used it for his 1970 solo album. Two singles were released from the album, the first being Only Love Can Break Your Heart, which was a minor hit, reaching the #33 spot. Stephen Stills contributed backup vocals to the track.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Mr. Soul
Source:    CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Buffalo Springfield Again)
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Executives at Atco Records originally considered Neil Young's voice "too weird" to be recorded. As a result many of Young's early tunes (including the band's debut single Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing), were sung by Richie Furay. By the time the band's second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, was released, the band had enough clout to make sure Young was allowed to sing his own songs. In fact, the album starts with a Young vocal on the classic Mr. Soul.

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    Don't Let It Bring You Down
Source:    CD: After The Gold Rush
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Neil Young, on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young live album 4-Way Street, made the following introduction:  "Here is a new song, it's guaranteed to bring you right down, it's called 'Don't Let It Bring You Down'. It sorta starts off real slow and then fizzles out altogether." In reality, the song is one of the strongest tracks on his 1970 LP After The Gold Rush, where it first appeared.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Sundazed/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967
    Marty Balin says he came up with the title of the opening track of side two of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow album by combining a couple of random phrases from the sports section of a newspaper. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds works out to 216 MPH, by the way.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Two Heads
Source:     CD: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:     1967
     The third Jefferson Airplane album, After Bathing At Baxter's, saw the group moving in increasingly experimental directions, as Grace Slick's two contributions to the LP attest. The more accessible of the two was Two Heads, which was the first part of Schizoforest Love Suite, the fifth and final "suite" on the album.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Comin' Back To Me
Source:    Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1967   
    When Marty Balin arrived at the studio with a brand new song called Comin' Back To Me, only Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jack Cassidy and Jerry Garcia were on hand to play on the subsequent recording. Balin, Kantner, Garcia and Cassidy all play guitar, while Slick provides the airy recorder track. The result is one of the most hauntingly beautiful love songs ever recorded.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
Source:    LP: Gimme Some Lovin' (originally released in UK on LP: Autumn '66)
Writer(s):    Jimmy Cox
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring a teenaged Steve Winwood on lead vocals and organ, came seemingly out of nowhere with their early 1967 hit, Gimme Some Lovin'. The reality was that the band had already racked up an inpressive number of hits in their native England by the time Gimme Some Lovin' was released in late 1966. The band had also released several notable album tracks, including this 1966 cover of Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out, a song originally written and recorded by Jimmy Cox in the 1920s. Many of these tracks were collected for the band's first US album, Gimme Some Lovin', released in 1967.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Keep On Running
Source:    Mono LP: Gimme Some Lovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Jackie Edwards
Label:    United Artists (original label: Atco)
Year:    1965
    The Spencer Davis Group began a streak of top 10 hits in the UK in 1964, with the then 14-year-old Steve Winwood on lead vocals and keyboards (and occassional guitar). What is not well known is that many of those singles were also released in the US on the Atco label, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. None of the Atco releases charted in the US and eventually the distribution rights to the band's recordings fell to United Artists Records. In 1967 the Spencer Davis Group finally got its breakthrough hit in the US with Gimme Some Lovin' a tune that had originally been released in the fall of 1966. United Artists immediately went to work on compiling an album made up mostly of the band's earlier singles and B sides, releasing it in spring of 1967. One of the many UK hits on the album was Jackie Edwards' Keep On Running, which the Spencer Davis Group had taken to the top of the British charts in 1965.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 the Spencer Davis Group had already racked up an impressive number of British hit singles, but had yet to crack the US top 40. This changed when the band released Gimme Some Lovin', an original composition that had taken the band about an hour to develop in the studio. The single, released on Oct 28, went to the #2 spot on the British charts. Although producer Jimmy Miller knew he had a hit on his hands, he decided to do a complete remix of the song, including a brand new lead vocal track, added backup vocals and percussion and plenty of reverb, for the song's US release. His strategy was successful; Gimme Some Lovin', released in December of 1966, hit the US charts in early 1967, eventually reaching the #7 spot. The US remix has since become the standard version of the song, and has appeared on countless compilations over the years.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    House Of The Rising Sun
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of The Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    trad., arr. Price
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1964
    Sometimes, to use a baseball analogy, you hit a home run in your first time out fo the box. Such was the case with the Animals recording of the traditional folk song House Of The Rising Sun. The record, released in 1964, went to the top of the charts virtually all over the planet and the song itself has long since come to be identified specifically with the Animals, despite its 19th century (some say even earlier) origins. In fact, Bob Dylan, who recorded the song years before the Animals, removed the song from his own repertoire when he was accused of stealing it from the latter band. Dave Van Ronk, who taught the song to Dylan in the first place, has claimed that the Animals were actually using his arrangement of the song. Regardless, the fact remains that if you were going to play guitar in a rock and roll band in the mid-60s you had to know how to play the Animals version of House Of The Rising Sun. It helped if you had the stamina in your chord hand to still be playing it six verses later.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Just A Room
Source:    Mono LP: You Baby
Writer(s):    Kornfeld/Duboff
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    The first Turtles LP, It Ain't Me Babe, was made up mostly of songs from professional songwriters, with only a handful coming from the band itself (and all of those were either written or co-written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan). The followup LP, You Baby, had much more original material, including contributions from guitarist Al Nichol and bassist Chuck Portz. There were still plenty of tunes from outside sources on the album, however, including Just A Room from the songwriting team of Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld, who would go on to write two of the Cowsills' biggest hits (The Rain, The Park, And Other Things, and We Can Fly) the following year.

Artist:    The Mamas And The Papas
Title:    I Can't Wait
Source:    Mono LP: The Mamas And The Papas
Writer(s):    John Phillips
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1966
    Midway through recording session for their self-titled second LP, bandleader John Phillips decided to kick his wife Michelle out of the band for something having nothing to do with the band itself (which is one good reason for band members not to get romantically involved with each other). Her replacement was producer Lou Adler's girlfriend Jill Gibson, whose voice can be heard on several songs on the album, including I Can't Wait. However, since Michelle Phillips ended up being reinstated shortly before the album came out, Gibson (who received a cash settlement from the band) was not credited for her contributions.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    Claramount Lake
Source:    British import CD: Tomorrow (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1967
    The British band Tomorrow is best known for the single My White Bicycle. The track was included on the band's self-titled 1967 LP as well. Its B side, however, a song called Claramount Lake, was left off the album, and was not made available again until 1999, when it was included as a bonus track on the reissue of the album.

Artist:    Fifty Foot Hose
Title:    Red The Sign Post
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Cauldron)
Writer(s):    Roswicky/Blossom
Label:    Rhino (original label: Limelight)
Year:    1968
    Although most of the more avant-garde bands of the psychedelic era were headquarted in New York, there were some exceptions, such as San Francisco's Fifty Foot Hose. The core members of the band were founder and bassist Louis "Cork" Marcheschi, guitarist David Blossom, and his wife, vocalist Nancy Blossom. The group used a lot of unusual instruments, such as theramin, Moog synthesizer and prepared guitar and piano. Probably their most commercial song was Red The Sign Post from the LP Cauldron. After that album the group called it quits, with most of the members joining the cast of Hair. In fact, Nancy Blossom landed the part of lead character Sheila for the San Francisco production of the musical.

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    Breakaway
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    James/Vail
Label:    Roulette
Year:    1969
    From a modern perspective it seems obvious that the only thing keeping Roulette Records going in the late 60s was the string of hits on the label by Tommy James and the Shondells. Oddly enough, Tommy James was one of many acts that initially tanked on the label. It was only when a Pittsburgh DJ began playing a two year old copy of Hanky Panky he had rescued from the throwaway pile in 1966 that the band's career took off. By then, however, the original Shondells had long-since disbanded and James found himself suddenly in demand with no band to back him up. He soon found a new group of Shondells and began cranking out an amazing streak of hits, including I Think We're Alone Now, Mony Mony, Crystal Blue Persuasion and Crimson and Clover. By 1969, however, the streak was coming to an end, with Sweet Cherry Wine being one of the group's last top 40 hits. The B side of that record was the decidedly psychedelic Breakaway. James would continue as a solo artist after the Shondells split up, scoring his last hit in 1971 with Draggin' The Line. Roulette Records pretty much faded away at that point, eventually to become part of EMI (which is now part of Universal, one of the three remaining major record conglomerates).

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Sugar The Road
Source:    CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:    1970
    Ten Years After's fourth LP, Cricklewood Green, was the band's first release following their appearance at Woodstock, and by all accounts they made the best of the situation with what is generally considered to be their best studio album. In addition to progressive FM radio favorites Love Like A Man and 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain, the album contains several tunes that show the group's diversity, such as Sugar The Road, which opens side one of the LP.