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.


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