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.

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