Sunday, May 1, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2219 (starts 5/2/22)

    This week we have a single-artist Advanced Psych segment featuring the early 1980s incarnation of King Crimson. We also have several trips up through the years and an artists' set featuring the original Animals. We finish with a California set, but not before providing a wealth of tunes ranging from the popular to the obscure, including a seldom-heard B side to start off the show.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Out Of The Question
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles A's and B's 1965-1970 (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Saxon/Serpent
Label:    Big Beat (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Until 2014, one's chances of hearing, let alone posessing, a copy of the B side of the original pressing of the Seeds' Your Pushing Too Hard was, for most of us, Out Of The Question. Thanks to Britain's Big Beat label, however, the song is now available on the CD Singles A's and B's 1965-1970.

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:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Shadows
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM promo single)
Writer(s):    Gordon Phillips
Label:    Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Released only to radio stations, Shadows may well be the last song issued by the original lineup of the Electric Prunes. The song was recorded for a film called The Name Of The Game Is To Kill (a movie I know absolutely nothing about), and was issued in between two singles written by David Axelrod for concept albums that came out under the Electric Prunes name in 1968. Stylistically, Shadows sounds far more like the group's earlier work than the Axelrod material.

Artist:    Glass Prism
Title:    The Raven
Source:    LP: Poe Through The Glass Prism
Writer(s):    Poe/Christiano
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    Formed in early 60s Pennsylvania, the El Caminos, consisting of Tom Varano (guitar/piano/vocal), Carl Syracuse (guitar/organ/vocal), Rick Richards (drums) and Augie Christiano (bass), were a classic example of a working band that played all over the northeastern US. Around the same time as the band got signed to record for RCA, Varano and Christiano came up with the idea of setting some of the works of Edgar Allan Poe to music, and changed the name of the band to Glass Prism to reflect the new direction the group was taking. The two split composing duties, with only one of the eleven tracks on the 1969 album Poe Through The Glass Prism being a collaboration between the two. The album itself starts with perhaps Poe's most famous work, The Raven, with music by Christiano. The song was also released as a single, but did not chart.

Artist:    Fotheringay
Title:    The Way I Feel
Source:    LP: Fairport Chronicles (originally released on LP: Fotheringay
Writer(s):    Gordon Lightfoot
Label:    A&M
Year:    1970
    After leaving Fairport Convention in 1970, vocalist Sandy Denny formed a new band, Fotheringay. The group released one self-titled LP before Denny decided to go it solo. A highlight from that album is a strong version of Gordon Lightfoot's The Way I Feel.

Artist:    Move
Title:    Message From The Country
Source:    LP: Message From The Country
Writer(s):    Jeff Lynne
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1971
    The Move was one of those bands that was extremely popular in its native UK without having any success whatsoever in the US. Although primarily a singles band, they did manage to release four albums over a period of years, the last of which was Message From The Country. Even as the album was being recorded, several members, including Jeff Lynne, were already working on the first album by the Move's successor, the Electric Light Orchestra. A conscious effort was made, however, to keep the two projects separate, with the Move album getting the more psychedelic material (such as the title track), while ELO took a more prog-rock approach.

Artist:    Colder Children
Title:    Memories
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Danny Felton
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Boutique)
Year:    1968
    I know virtually nothing about the Long Island band known as Colder Children. How about you? If you are familiar with them, clue me in, OK?

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Summer Is The Man
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Following up on their successful debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos released Electric Comic Book in March of 1967. Unfortunately the first single from the album had two equally strong songs, one of which was favored by the producers and the other by the band. Radio stations were unsure which song to push, and as a result, neither made the top 40. Most of the remaining tracks on the album were written by the band members, including Summer Is The Man, a song with an interesting chord structure, a catchy melody and somewhat existential lyrics.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Heaven Is In Your Mind
Source:    LP: Best Of Traffic (originally released in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    For a time in the mid-1960s recording artists would actually make two mixes of each song on their albums, one in monoraul and one in stereo. Often the monoraul mix would have a brighter sound, as those mixes were usually made with AM radio's technical limitations in mind. In rare cases, the differences would be even more pronounced. Such is the case with Traffic's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. The two versions of Heaven Is In Your Mind differ not only in their mix but in the actual recording, as the mono mix features an entirely different guitar solo than the more familiar stereo mix heard here.

Artist:    St. Valentine's Day Massacre
Title:    Brother Can You Spare A Dime
Source:    British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Harburg/Gomey
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1967
    Did you know that Ronnie Wood, of Faces and Rolling Stones fame, had an older brother. His name was Art Wood, and he led his own band in the late 50s and early 1960s called (naturally) The Art Wood Combo, doing cover versions of songs by American artists like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. After a brief stint as one of the vocalists for Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, he formed the Artwoods, whos membership included drummer Keef Hartley, who later became a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, and organist Jon Lord, who would go on to become a founding member of Deep Purple. Although they released several singles for the British Decca label starting in 1964, none of them became a hit, and the label cut the Artwoods from their roster at the end of 1966. They released one final single under the name St. Valentine's Day Massacre in November of 1967 for Fontana Records, a cover of the depression-era classic Brother Can You Spare A Dime, but by then the group had already decided to disband.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Tomorrow Never Knows
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    A few years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was Tomorrow Never Knows. The recording is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking on the lead guitar track and various tape loops throughout, and has been hailed as a studio masterpiece.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands (US single version)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    There are at least three versions of Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands. The first was a monoraul-only electric version of the song released in the US on September 18, 1967 as the B side to I Can See For Miles. Two months later a second, slightly slower stereo version of the tune appeared under the title Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand (singular) on The Who Sell Out. This more acoustic version of the song, which has a kind of calypso flavor to it, is the best known of the three, due to the album staying in circulation far longer than the 45. A third version of the song, also recorded in 1967 and featuring Al Kooper on organ, appeared as a bonus track on the 1995 CD release of Sell Out. The liner notes on the CD, however, erroneously state that it is the US single version, when in fact it is an entirely different recording.
Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Crosstown Traffic
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The first single to be released concurrently with Electric Ladyland was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several compilation albums over the years.

Artist:    Frijid Pink
Title:    Drivin' Blues
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Thompson/Beaudry
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1969
    Frijid Pink released two singles before hitting it big with their third, a distortion-ridden version of House Of The Rising Sun, in late 1969. The A side of their second single, Drivin' Blues, was recycled as the B side of House. I guess that's one way of getting your original material into the hands of the record buying public.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Waiting For The Sun
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Morrison Hotel)
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1970
    The third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun, released in 1968, is notable for at least two things that were not on the album itself. The first, and most well-known, was the epic piece Celebration Of The Lizard, which was abandoned when the group couldn't get it to sound the way they wanted it to in the studio (although one section of the piece was included under the title Not To Touch The Earth). The second, and perhaps more obvious omission was the title track of the album itself. The unfinished tapes sat on the shelf until 1970, when the band finally completed the version of Waiting For The Sun that appears on the Morrison Hotel album.

Artist:    Redbone
Title:    The Witch Queen Of New Orleans
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Message From A Drum)
Writer(s):    Pat and Lolly Vegas
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Year:    1971
    Citing part-Cherokee Jimi Hendrix as an inspiration, brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas, already veteran performers who had appeared several times on ABC-TV's Shindig, among other venues, decided to form an all Native American band in 1969. Their first hit single was The Witch Queen Of New Orleans, from the 1971 LP Message From A Drum. Redbone recorded a total of six albums for the Epic label in the early 1970s, and are known for being the opening act at the first Earth Day event.    

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Ticket To Ride
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    The late 1940s saw the beginning of a revolution in the way people consumed recorded music. For decades, the only available recorded media had been the brittle 78 RPM (revolutions per minute) discs made of a material known as shellac. These discs, officially known as gramophone records, generally came in three sizes: 7" (for children's records), 12" (used mostly for classical recordings) and the standard 10" discs, which held about three minutes' worth of material per side. The high revolution speed meant that even the 12" discs could only hold a maximum of five minutes' worth of music per side, making it necessary to spread out longer pieces such as operas and symphonies over several discs, severely disrupting the listening experience. Following the end of World War II the two largest record companies, RCA Victor and Columbia, each separately began working on replacements for the 78 RPM discs. RCA's replacement was pretty much one on one; the 10" 78s were replaced by the 7" 45 RPM singles with about the same running time. Columbia, on the other hand, concentrated their efforts on long playing 12" records that, revolving at 33 1/3 RPM, could contain over 20 minutes' worth of music per side. Naturally, the LPs were far more expensive than 45s, and were marketed to a more affluent class of consumer than their shorter counterparts. This in turn led to popular music being dominated by 45 RPM singles, especially among American teenagers, while albums tended to be favored by fans of jazz and classical music. This dichotomy persisted well into the 1960s, with relatively few pop stars, such as Elvis Presley and later, the Beatles, selling a signficant number of LPs. By 1967, however, teenagers were buying enough LPs to make it feasable to a youth-oriented act to be considered a success without the aid of a hit single. One of the first of these new types of rock bands was Vanilla Fudge, whose debut LP did not contain any hit singles when it was first released. It did, however, contain a pair of Beatles covers, including the album's opening track, Ticket To Ride. A year later, another cover song from the album, You Keep Me Hangin' On, which had been a hit for the Supremes around the same time that the Vanilla Fudge album first came out, began to get significant airplay and was re-released as a single.

King Crimson is one of the most influential bands in the history of rock. Led by guitarist Robert Fripp, the band has always been known for innovation; in fact, King Crimson's debut LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King, is often cited as the album that created the entire progressive rock genre. But as it turned out, Fripp was just getting started. Despite (or maybe because of) never having the exactly the same lineup for two albums in a row, King Crimson continued to blaze new ground with every new release until Fripp decided to disband the group after the release of their seventh LP, Red, in 1974. After spending the next few years on solo projects and playing on albums by David Bowie and Peter Gabriel (as well as leading an instrumental new wave band called the League Of Gentlemen), Fripp decided to once again form what he called a "first division" band with drummer Bill Bruford (who had joined King Crimson in 1972), vocalist/guitarist Adrian Belew, and bassist Tony Levin. This new band, originally called Discipline, soon became the latest incarnation of King Crimson, and was the first to keep the same lineup for more than one album. Belew, who had already achieved fame for his work with such luminaries as Frank Zappa, David Bowie and the Talking Heads, as well as recording a solo album, was the first guitarist to play alongside Fripp in a band called King Crimson, and his writing style came to define the new group's sound, particularly on songs like Sleepless, which was also released as a single. This version of King Crimson ended up releasing three LPs over the course of four years, but was disbanded by Fripp exactly ten years after he broke up the first King Crimson. There have been several more incarnations of King Crimson over the years, including the current one, which Fripp refers to as a "Seven-Headed Beast".
Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Sleepless
Source:    LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Writer(s):    King Crimson
Label:    Warner Brothers/EG
Year:    1984
    Sleepless is probably the most commercial of the 80s King Crimson recordings, having been released as a single in 1984, peaking at #51 on the US Rock chart and #79 on the UK chart.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    The Sheltering Sky
Source:    LP: Discipline
Writer(s):    King Crimson
Label:    Warner Brothers/EG
Year:    1981
    The Sheltering Sky is the only instrumental on King Crimson's 1981 LP Discipline. The piece is an example of what Fripp called "rock gamelon", with the guitars creating an interlocking rhythmic pattern.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Man With An Open Heart
Source:    LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Writer(s):    King Crimson
Label:    Warner Brothers/EG
Year:    1984
    Man With An Open Heart is the shortest track on King Crimson's 1984 LP Three Of A Perfect Pair. Like the other songs on the first side of the LP, it is primarily an Adrian Belew composition, although officially credited to the entire band.

Artist:     Nightcrawlers
Title:     The Little Black Egg
Source:     CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Charles Conlon
Label:     Rhino (original label: Kapp)
Year:     1967
     The Nightcrawlers, from Daytona Beach, Florida, had a series of regional hits in the mid-60s. The only one to hit the national charts was The Little Black Egg, after Kapp Records (a division of MCA) bought the rights to the song and gave it widespread distribution.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Outcast
Source:    British import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Campbell/Johnson
Label:    Decca
Year:    1966
    Like many mid-60s British groups, the Animals had a fondness for American R&B music, and would often feature covers versions of songs originally released by people like Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker. In 1966, for the B side of Inside Looking Out, the Animals recorded Outcast, a song that had been released the previous year by Eddie Campbell and Ernie "Sweetwater" Johnson of Phoenix, Arizona, who recorded as Eddie And Ernie. A different song was used for the US B side of Inside Looking Out, and Outcast was not released in North America until late 1966, when it appeared, in a shorter form, on the LP Animalisms.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Hallelujah, I Love Her So
Source:    LP: The Animals On Tour (originally released in UK on LP: Animal Tracks)
Writer(s):    Ray Charles
Label:    M-G-M (original UK label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    Unlike the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, the original Animals recorded very few original tunes. Producer Mickey Most would find songs for the band to release as singles, with the band members themselves choosing some of their favorite R&B songs to record as B sides and album tracks. As was the case with nearly every British band of the mid-60s, their American label, M-G-M, insisted on including singles on the band's LPs, a practice that was generally not followed in the UK. This led to albums like The Animals On Tour, a 1965 US-only LP that included tracks from the band's first British LP in addition to a pair of recently released singles and several songs that had not yet been released in the UK. One of those songs, a cover of  Ray Charles's Hallelujah, I Love Her So, would appear two months later on the band's second British LP, Animal Tracks. There was also an American album called Animal Tracks that bore little resemblance to the original British LP, but that's another story.

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Inside Looking Out
Source:     British import 45 RPM single
Writer:     Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:     Decca
Year:     1966
     One of the last songs recorded by the Animals before their first breakup, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was covered a few years later by Grand Funk Railroad, who made it one of their concert staples. This has always been one of my all-time favorite rock songs, no matter who recorded it.

Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    Find The Hidden Door
Source:    British Import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK on LP: Before The Dream Faded)
Writer(s):    Hill/Brown
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Cherry Red)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1982
    One of London's most legendary psychedelic bands was actually from California. The story of the Misunderstood started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most West Coast bands of the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock 'n' roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes, including the addition of lead vocalist Rick Brown. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, an Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were joined by a local guitarist, Tony Hill.  Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. In addition to that single, the band recorded a handful of outstanding tracks that remained unreleased until the 1980s. Among those unreleased tracks was a masterpiece called Find The Hidden Door, written (as were most of the songs the band recorded in London) by Brown and Hill.  Problems with their work visas derailed the Misunderstood, and the band members soon found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.
As for John Ravencroft, he eventually returned to London, where he changed his last name to Peel and went on to become the most celebrated British DJ (or "presenter", as they call them there) of all time.

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

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    You Better Run
Source:    CD: Groovin' (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Cavaliere/Brigati
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1966
    The Young Rascals were riding high in 1966, thanks to their second single, Good Lovin', going all the way to the top of the charts early in the year. Rather than to follow up Good Lovin' with another single the band's label, Atlantic, chose to instead release a new album, Collections, on May 10th. This was somewhat unusual for the time, as having a successful single was considered essential to an artist's career, while albums were still viewed as somewhat of a bonus. Three weeks later, a new non-album single, You Better Run, was released, with a song from Collections, Love Is A Beautiful Thing, as the B side. The stereo version of the song appeared on the 1967 LP Groovin'.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Bluebird
Source:    LP: Buffalo Springfield Again
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
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.

Label:    Rock Beat (original label: Capitol)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2011
    One of the highlights of the first Quicksilver Messenger Service album was Gold And Silver, a six minute long instrumental which has drawn comparisons with Dave Brubeck's Take Five. This shorter version of the tune, entitled Acapulco Gold And Silver, was included on the 2011 CD reissue of the album.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Little Girl
Source:    LP: Your Saving Grace
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    The fourth Steve Miller Band album, Your Saving Grace, was the lowest charting of the band's first five albums (generally considered their "psychedelic" period). Despite this lack of chart success, Your Saving Grace managed to provide four solid tracks, including Little Girl, for the band's 1972 Anthology album, released while Miller was recovering from a broken neck suffered in a 1971 car accident. Miller would reboot the band with the 1973 album The Joker, which touched off a string of chart toppers for the group.

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