Sunday, June 12, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2225 (starts 6/13/22)

    This week's show includes a rather long Advanced Psych segment made up entirely of tracks from the 21st century. Other than that, it's business as usual, with lots of good stuff from 1966-1970, including a couple of tracks from unusual sources.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hush
Source:    LP: Purple Passages (originally released on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer(s):    Joe South
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Tetragrammaton)
Year:    1968
    British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the song was virtually ignored in their native England. The track was included on the album Tales Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including adding new lead vocalist Ian Gillan (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar LP) before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond, releasing two fine LPs before fading from the public view.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Pull/Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Now
Source:    LP: Head
Writer(s):    Peter Tork
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the Monkees was the fact that Peter Tork was never taken seriously as a musician, despite being, according to Mike Nesmith, the best instrumentalist in the band, and for that matter a much better vocalist than anyone realized. Born Peter Halsten Thorkelson on Feb 13, 1942, Tork was part of New York's Greenwich Village folk music community, where he became friends with Stephen Stills. By 1966, both Stills and Tork had relocated to Los Angeles, and after Stills auditioned unsuccessfully for the Monkees, he recommended Tork, who got the part. It was a mixed blessing, however, as Tork, more than any of the others, wanted the Monkees to be a real band, but was constantly frustrated in his efforts to make it so. Tork was proficient on several instruments, including banjo, acoustic and electric bass, guitar and harpsichord. Tork had few opportunities to sing lead vocals with the Monkees, the most famous being the comical Your Auntie Grizelda on the album More Of The Monkees. He finally did get to show his true talent on Long Title: Do I Have To Do This All Over Now, a song that he wrote and sang lead on from the LP Head, the soundtrack album from the movie of the same name. The album itself, a major departure from the light pop the Monkees were known for, was a commercial failure, and Tork soon left the group for a solo career.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Source:    CD: Relics (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmour
Label:    Capitol (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Despite being originally released only as a B side of a non-charting single (and not being released in the US at all) Be Careful With That Axe, Eugene is one of the most popular Pink Floyd tracks from the 1960s. This is due in part to the inclusion of a live version of the song on the 1969 LP Ummagumma. The original studio version was also included on the 1971 compilation album Relics. It is one of the first songs credited to all four band members following the departure of founder Syd Barrett.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Nowhere Man
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    The original UK version of Rubber Soul, released in December 1965, had several songs that were left off the shorter US version. In the case of Nowhere Man, it was because Capitol Records decided to hold back the song for release as a single in early 1966. Although Nowhere Man was one of the most popular songs of the year in the US, the song was never released as a single in the UK.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    One of the most popular songs in the Kinks' catalog, I'm Not Like Everybody Else was originally written for another British band, the Animals. When that group decided not to record the tune, the Kinks did their own version of the song, issuing it as the B side of the 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon. Although written by Ray Davies, it was sung by his brother Dave, who usually handled the lead vocals on only the songs he himself composed. Initially not available on any LPs, the song has in recent years shown up on various collections and as a bonus track on CD reissues of both the Kink Kontroversy and Face To Face albums. Both Davies brothers continue to perform the song in their live appearances.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Everybody's Been Burned
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
    There is a common misconception that David Crosby's songwriting skills didn't fully develop until he began working with Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. A listen to Everybody's Been Burned from the Byrds' 1967 album Younger Than Yesterday, however, puts the lie to that theory in a hurry. The track has all the hallmarks of a classic Crosby song: a strong melody, intelligent lyrics and an innovative chord structure. It's also my personal favorite tune from what is arguably the Byrds' best LP.

Artist:    Great! Society
Title:    Somebody To Love
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Conspicuous Only In Its Absence)
Writer(s):    Darby Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1968
    One of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era (and of the so-called San Francisco sound) is Somebody To Love, released by Jefferson Airplane in 1967 on their Surrealistic Pillow album. Somebody To Love was written by Darby Slick, guitarist for another San Francisco band, Great! Society. The Society had released the song, featuring Slick's sister-in-law Grace on lead vocals, as a single in early 1966 but was unable to get any local airplay for the record. In June the group played the Matrix, a club managed by Marty Balin, the founder of Jefferson Airplane. The entire gig was recorded (probably by legendary Grateful Dead soundman Owsley Stanley, whose board recordings usually isolated the vocals in one channel and the instruments in the other to provide the band with a tape they could use to critique their own performance) and eventually released on an album called Conspicuous Only In Its Absence two years after Great! Society disbanded. Within a few weeks of this performance Grace Slick would leave the group to join Jefferson Airplane, taking the song with her. This whole set of circumstances can't help but raise the question of whether Balin was using the Society's gig at the Matrix as a kind of sideways audition for Slick.

Artist:    1910 Fruitgum Co.
Title:    Creations Of Simon
Source:    LP: Hard Ride
Writer(s):    Roth/Gomez/Gutkowski
Label:    Buddah
Year:    1969
    Throughout 1968 the top 40 charts were cominated by a series of lyrically lightweight, highly danceable tunes that came to be collectively known as "bubble-gum" music. Most of these came from Kazenetz-Katz Productions and were released on the Buddah label. Perhaps the most infamous of the 'bubble-gum" bands was the 1910 Fruitgum Co., who tried to break out of the mold and go for a more progressive sound with their 1969 album Hard Ride. Some tracks, such as Creations Of Simon, even anticipated the horn-oriented pop of bands of the early 1970s such as Chase and the Ides Of March. The 1910 Fruitgum Co., however, was never to escape its bubble gum image and disbanded the following year.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Samba Pa Ti
Source:    CD: Abraxas
Writer(s):    Carlos Santana
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    One of the most enduring tracks from Santana's second LP, Abraxas, Samba Pa Ti starts off as a slow instrumental, slowly picking up the pace and adding percussion to give it a decidedly latin flavor. As far as I know, Carlos Santana still includes Samba Pa Ti in his concert repertoire.

Artist:    Spiders
Title:    Don't Blow Your Mind (alternate version)
Source:    Mono EP: The Spiders
Writer(s):    Dunaway/Furnier
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1998
    Told by a Phoenix club owner to find a better name than the Earwigs, the band that would ultimately come to be known as Alice Cooper showed up two weeks later calling themselves the Spiders and performing with a huge black spider web as their backdrop. Within a year they were popular enough to cut their first record, a single called Why Don't You Love Me on the local Mascot label. The following year, after graduating high school, the Spiders cut a second single, Don't Blow Your Mind, for another local label. In 1998 Sundazed released a Spiders EP that included an alternate take of Don't Blow Your Mind.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    It took Bob Dylan (and his backup musicians) 20 takes over a period of three hours in the middle of a night full of constant revisions of both music and lyrics to arrive at the final LP version of Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again. It was worth the effort.
Artist:     Rising Sons
Title:    Let The Good Times Roll
Source:     CD: The Rising Sons
Writer:     Goodman/Lee
Label:     Columbia/Legacy
Year:     Recorded 1966, released 1996
     Columbia Records did not have a clue what to do with the Rising Sons. Part of the problem was that they were playing the same clubs on Sunset Strip as bands like Love, the Leaves, and the Seeds, yet did not play anywhere near the same type of music as those psychedelic underground garage/punk flower power type bands. Instead, the Rising Sons were big fans of the blues and of 50s R&B artists such as Bobby Blue Bland and Shirley and Lee, with many of the songs in their repertoire being originally recorded by those artists. One example of this is Let The Good Times Roll. The Rising Sons version of the tune follows Shirley and Lee's version closely. Another thing that ultimately led to Columbia's decision not to release the Rising Sons recordings is that fact that the band itself was multi-racial (featuring future stars Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder), and in 1966 nobody but Jan Holtzman's Elektra Records had any idea how to market a multi-racial band (Elektra had both the Butterfield Blues Band and Love on the label). Rather than ask a competitor how to do something (especially an upstart label like Elektra), the decidedly old-school Columbia executives decided to shelve the whole thing until a new generation of executives came along to release the recordings 30 years later. 

Artist:    Mamas And The Papas
Title:    Got A Feelin'
Source:    LP: If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears
Writer(s):    Phillips/ Doherty
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1965
    Got A Feelin' was one of the few collaborations between Mamas & Papas members John Phillips and Denny Doherty. The song features some of the group's smoothest recorded harmonies, as well as lyrics that can be considered somewhat ironic in hindsight, given that Doherty was having an affair with John's wife Michelle at the time.
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:    Derek and the Dominos
Title:    Layla
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Clapton (originally released on LP: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs)
Writer:    Clapton/Gordon
Label:    Polydor/Chronicles (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    After the breakup of Blind Faith after one album, Eric Clapton set about forming a new band that would be more of a group effort than a collection of stars working together. To this end he found musicians that, although quite talented, were not particularly well-known outside of the British blues community. At first the group deliberately downplayed Clapton's presence in the band in order to stay focused on making music as a collective, although even in the beginning it was clear that Clapton would be the group's lead vocalist. The new group had trouble coming up with a name, however, and (half-jokingly) told one stage MC that their name was Del and the Dynamos. The MC misheard the name and introduced the new band as Derek and the Dominos. The name stuck. Meanwhile, Clapton had recently discovered a new band out of Atlanta, Georgia, calling itself the Allman Brothers band and was so impressed by guitarist Duane Allman that he asked him to join the Dominos. Allman, however, declined Clapton's offer, choosing to stick with the band he had co-founded with brother Gregg. Duane Allman did, however, sit in with Derek and the Dominos in the studio for several tracks on their upcoming double LP. One of the tracks where Allman's distinctive slide guitar stands out is the album's title song, Layla. The first half of the song itself was written by Clapton, while the second part (where the piano comes in) is credited to drummer Jim Gordon, although there is reason to believe it was actually written by Rita Coolidge, who was Gordon's girlfriend at the time.

Artist:    Geiger Von Müller
Title:    Interstellar Resorbtion
Source:    CD: Teddy Zur And The Kwands
Writer(s):    Geiger Von Müller
Label:    GVM
Year:    2018
    Geiger Von Müller is a London-based guitarist who has deconstructed the blues down to one of its most essential elements, slide guitar, and then explored from scratch what can be done with the instrument. The result is tracks like Interstellar Resorbtion, from the album Teddy Zur And The Kwands. The all-instrumental album is accompanied by the beginning of a science fiction story about the Kwands, a powerful race that kidnaps children's stuff toys, including one called Teddy Zur, to work in their factory as slaves. You'll have to find a copy of the CD itself to get a more detailed explanation.

Artist:    Sleep City Devils
Title:    A Twenty Dollar Orchestra
Source:    CD independently released by Ivan Perelli
Writer(s):    Ivan Perilli
Label:    none
Year:    2021
    As a result of our ongoing efforts to find new artists to feature on our occasional Advanced Psych segment, I was contacted by Ivan Perilli, who pointed me to non-compressed versions of several tracks from his latest project, Sleep City Devils. The one that really grabbed me was A Twenty Dollar Orchestra. Billed as "an experimental thing", Sleep City Devils (1 band, 3 imaginary musicians, 4 songs) is the latest in a series of projects that also includes Happy Graveyard Orchestra and Banana Planets. According to Perilli's website, he also "just plays the bass" with Djoolio.
Artist:    Claypool Lennon Delirium
Title:    Mr. Wright/Boomerang Baby
Source:    Monolith Of Phobos
Writer(s):    Claypool/Lennon
Label:    ATO
Year:    2016
    In 2015 Les Claypool's band, Primus, decided to take a year off after touring with Ghost Of A Sabre Tooth Tiger. During the tour Claypool had become friends with GOASTT's Sean Lennon, who also had no musical projects planned for the immediate future. The two of them, along with keyboardist/vocalist João Nogueira from Stone Giant and drummer Paulo Baldi of Cake, decided to pursue their mutual interest in " old-school" psychedelic and progressive rock and formed the Claypool Lennon Delirium. Their first album, Monolith Of Phobos, was released the following year. Although Claypool and Lennon share songwriting credits for the entire album, it is likely that Mr. Wright, which was also released as the album's third single, comes mostly from Claypool, while Boomerang Baby, which follows Mr. Wright on the album without a break between songs, has more of a Lennon feel to it. The Claypool Lennon Delirium has since released a four-song EP of late 1960s prog-rock covers and a second album, South Of Reality, that I have yet to score a copy of. Sean or Les, if you're reading this, can you send me one, pretty please, preferably on vinyl?

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Fakin' It
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer:    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Fakin' It, originally released as a single in 1967, was a bit of a departure for Simon And Garfunkel, sounding more like British psychedelic music than American folk-rock. The track starts with an intro that is similar to the false ending to the Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever; midway through the record the tempo changes drastically for a short spoken word section (name-dropping Mr. [Donovan] Leitch) that is slightly reminiscent of the bridge in Traffic's Hole In My Shoe. The song was later included on the 1968 LP Bookends.

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     Giving To You
Source:     CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind
Writer(s):     Winwood/Capaldi/Wood/Mason
Label:     Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:     1967
     Traffic's first LP, Mr. Fantasy, was released in late 1967 under the name Heaven Is In Your Mind by United Artists Records in the US. The reason for this is not entirely clear, although the label may have been expecting the song Heaven Is In Your Mind to be a hit and wanted to capitalize on the title. As it turns out the song didn't do much on the US charts, despite the lead vocals of Steve Winwood, whose voice had already graced two top 10 singles by the Spencer Davis Group (Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man) earlier that year. More recently Island Records, which always had the UK rights to Traffic's material and has had US rights since the early 70s, decided to release CDs under both titles. Mr. Fantasy contains the mono mixes of the songs (plus mono bonus tracks), while Heaven Is In Your Mind has the stereo mixes of the same songs (with some slight differences in bonus tracks). One track that benefits from the stereo mix is Giving To You. Basically an instrumental, the song has a short lounge lizard style vocal introduction, along with some interesting spoken parts and stereo sound effects at the beginning and end of what is otherwise a rather tasty jam session.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Night Time
Source:    German import CD: The Amboy Dukes
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    Although the Amboy Dukes were officially formed in Chicago in 1964, only founder and bandleader Ted Nugent was still with the group when they relocated to Detroit and recorded their first album for the Chicago-based Mainstream label. By then the lineup consisted of Nugent on lead guitar, John Drake on lead vocals, Steve Farmer on rhythm guitar, Dave Palmer on drums, Rick Lober on keyboards and Bill White on bass, with Nugent, Farmer and White providing backup vocals. Seven of the eleven songs on the first Amboy Dukes album were originals; most of those were written by Nugent and Farmer, including the song Night Time, which expresses a common feeling among young people of any decade.

Artist:     It's A Beautiful Day
Title:     White Bird
Source:     CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Writer:     David and Linda LaFlamme
Label:     San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
Year:     1968
     It's A Beautiful Day is a good illustration of how a band can be a part of a trend without intending to be or even realizing that they are. In their case, they were actually tied to two different trends. The first one was a positive thing: it was now possible for a band to be considered successful without a top 40 hit, as long as their album sales were healthy. The second trend was not such a good thing; as was true for way too many bands, It's A Beautiful Day was sorely mistreated by its own management, in this case one Matthew Katz. Katz already represented both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape when he signed up It's A Beautiful Day in 1967. What the members of It's A Beautiful Day did not know at the time was that both of the aforementioned bands were trying to get out of their contracts with Katz. The first thing Katz did after signing It's A Beautiful Day was to ship the band off to Seattle to become house band at a club Katz owned called the San Francisco Sound. Unfortunately for the band, Seattle already had a sound of its own and attendance at their gigs was sparse. Feeling downtrodden and caged (and having no means of transportation to boot) classically-trained 5-string violinist and lead vocalist David LaFlamme and his keyboardist wife Linda LaFlamme translated those feelings into a song that is at once sad and beautiful: the classic White Bird. As an aside, Linda LaFlamme was not the female vocalist heard on White Bird. Credit for those goes to one Pattie Santos, the other female band member. To this day Katz owns the rights to It's A Beautiful Day's recordings, which have been reissued on CD on Katz's own San Francisco Sound label.

Artist:    David Axelrod
Title:    Urizen
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Song Of Innocence)
Writer(s):    David Axelrod
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    One of the more unique talents of the psychedelic era was a man named David Axelrod. Originally known as a jazz producer, working with such artists as Lou Rawls and Cannonball Adderly, Axelrod came to the attention of the rock world when he scored an entire Catholic Mass for a rock band, the Electric Prunes' Mass In F Minor, in 1968. The piece was sung entirely in Latin and featured mostly studio musicians playing the complicated score. The same year, Axelrod released Song Of Innocence, setting the words of poet William Blake to modern music. The opening track of Song Of Innocence is Urizen, named for one of Blake's key characters.

Artist:    Blossom Toes
Title:    What On Earth
Source:    Mono British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brian Gooding
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    The Ingoes were a mid-60s English mod band that spent most of their time in Paris, returning to London in March of 1967 to find that the mod movement had given way to psychedelia. The band promptly responded by hiring a new drummer and changing their name to Blossom Toes. Their first single, What On Earth, appeared as the long side of a three-song single released in October of 1967. The following month a slightly different version of What On Earth was included on their debut LP, We Are Ever So Clean.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    Mono German import CD: 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 composer's Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind.

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