Sunday, July 10, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2229 (starts 7/11/22)

    This week Stuck in the Psychedelic Era presents excerpts from a recent chat with David Gans, the host of the Grateful Dead Hour, a syndicated show that's been around since the 1980s. Gans is also a musician himself, and we're featuring some of his recent recordings both during and after the conversation as part of our occasional Advanced Psych series, airing in the show's second hour. And of course we have the usual mix of singles, B sides and album tracks from the late 60s to round out the show, including a seldom-heard track from the original Renaissance lineup featuring former Yardbirds members Keith Relf and Jim McCarty.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1965
    In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals. This expanded version of the album first appeared on the ABKCO label in 1973, but with the American, rather than the British, version of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. With all this in mind, I looked for, and finally found, a copy of the original US single.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (original LP name: The Electric Prunes)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Only a handful of tunes make virtually everyone's list of "psychedelic" songs. The Electric Prunes' I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) so well defines the genre that Lenny Kaye himself chose it to be the opening track on the original Nuggets compilation album.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Take It As It Comes
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band to record for Elektra (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Those Were The Days
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Baker/Taylor
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Drummer Ginger Baker only contributed a handful of songs to the Cream repertoire, but each was, in its own way, quite memorable. Those Are The Days, with its sudden changes of time and key, presages the progressive rock that would flourish in the mid-1970s. As was often the case with Baker-penned songs, bassist Jack Bruce provides the vocals from this Wheels Of Fire track.

Artist:     Ten Years After
Title:     I Woke Up This Morning
Source:     LP: Ssssh
Writer:     Alvin Lee
Label:     Deram
Year:     1969
     Latecomers to the British blues scene, Ten Years After were in fact the original retro-rockers, taking their cues from the classic rock and roll artists of the 50s as much as from the rhythm and blues artists of the era. Alvin Lee's songwriting, especially in the band's early days, reflected both these influences, with slow, yet loud, bluesy numbers like I Woke Up This Morning co-existing with high-energy rockers like I'm Going Home.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Gold And The Blues
Source:    LP: Sugarloaf
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Pollock/Raymond/Webber
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1970
    There don't seem to be very many tracks highlighting instrumental work in rock radio these days, and virtually none in what passes for top 40. Perhaps that's just a natural consequence of the emergence of a "front" person as the center of attention in the 70s. There was a time, however, that every member of a band played an instrument, and many albums included at least one instrumental track. Gold And The Blues, from the debut Sugarloaf album, is basically a blues jam that shows that Jerry Corbetta was far more than just the guy who sang Green-Eyed Lady and Don't Call Us, We'll Call You; he was quite possibly the best rock organist ever. Bob Webber's guitar work on the tune ain't half bad, either.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Open The Door
Source:    LP: The Dock Of The Bay
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Volt
Year:    1968
    Otis Redding's last LP to be completed before his death in a plane crash ion December 10, 1967 could almost be called a compilation LP. In addition to the title track, which was released ahead of the album on Jan 8, 1968, the LP, released on February 23, 1968, contains several singles and B side dating back to 1965. One of the newer songs on the album was Open The Door, a Redding composition that was released on Apr. 8, 1968 as the B side to the album's second single, The Happy Song.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     In My Life
Source:     LP: Rubber Soul
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Capitol/EMI
Year:     1965
    Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to be made up entirely of songs written by the band members themselves, mostly John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon's contributions in particular were starting to move away from the typical "young love" songs the band had become famous for. One of the best examples is In My Life, which is a nostalgic look back at Lennon's own past (although put in such a way that it could be universally applied). Despite never being released as a single, In My Life remains one of the most popular songs in the Beatles catalog.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Such A Shame
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record, thus giving them an equal share of the royalties. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the B side of A Well Respected Man in late 1965. It doesn't get much better than this.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Rari
Source:    Mono CD: Dirty Water (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1965
    The Standells had already recorded several singles for various labels when they met up with producer Ed Cobb, whose Green Grass Productions had a distribution deal with Capitol Records' Tower subsidiary label. Cobb had the band record a pair of tunes that he had written himself at engineer Armin Steiner's garage studio in Los Angeles. Both Dirty Water and its B side, Rari, were recorded on 3-track tape, which meant that the instrumental tracks were recorded first, with overdubs and vocals added later. According to band leader Larry Tamblyn, this makes the Dirty Water/Rari single, released in November of 1965, one of the first (if not THE first) garage-rock records.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Streetmasse
Source:    LP: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Kantner/Dryden/Blackman/Thompson/Balin
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
     After Bathing At Baxter's is generally considered the most pyschedelic of all the Jefferson Airplane albums. For one thing, the members were reportedly all on LSD through most of the creative process and were involved in the entire package, right down to the decision to divide the album up into five suites and press the vinyl in such a way that the spaces normally found between songs were only present between the suites themselves, making it almost impossible to set the needle down at the beginning of the second or third song of a suite (there is a slight overlap between most of the songs as well). The first suite on After Bathing At Baxter's is called Streetmasse. It consists of three compositions: Paul Kantner's The Ballad of You and Me and Pooniel; A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly (a free-form jazz piece led by drummer Spencer Dryden); and the Paul Kantner/Marty Balin composition Young Girl Sunday Blues.
Artist:    Dave Van Ronk
Title:    Keep Off The Grass
Source:    LP: Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters
Writer(s):    Dave and Doris Woods
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    Dave Van Ronk was a legendary figure on the Greenwich Village scene, earning the nickname Mayor of MacDougall Street. He recorded dozens of albums covering a variety of genres, including folk, jazz, spiritual, blues and even folk-rock, somehow managing to perform them with both a sense of irreverant reverance. In 1967 he released an album called Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters that borders on garage-rock, particularly on tracks like Keep Off The Grass, which opens the LP's second side.

Artist:    Ballroom
Title:    Baby, Please Don't Go
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Joe Williams
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1967
    This rather unusual arrangement of Joe Williams classic Baby, Please Don't Go was the creation of producer/vocalist Curt Boettcher. Boettcher had previously worked with the Association, co-writing their first hit Along Comes Mary. While working on the Ballroom project for Our Productions in 1966 he came to the attention of Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. Usher was so impressed with Boettcher's creativity in the studio that he convinced his own bosses at Columbia Records to buy out Boettcher's contract from Our Productions. As a result, much of Boettcher's Ballroom project became part of Usher's own Sagittarius project, with only one single, an unusual arrangement of Joe Williams's Baby, Please Don't Go, released under the Ballroom name. Boettcher turned out to be so prolific that it was sometimes said that the giant "CBS" logo on the side of the building stood for Curt Boettcher's Studios.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Lemmon Princess
Source:    Mono British import CD: All The Good That's Happening
Writer(s):    Jim Pons
Label:    Grapefruit (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    The Leaves were formed in 1964 as the Rockwells by a group of fraternity brothers from San Fernando Valley College in Northridge, California. The group was financed by bassist/vocalist Jim Pons, who used money he had received from an insurance settlement to buy the band's original equipment. After a few personnel changes the band, which by 1965 had changed their name to the Leaves, successfully auditioned to replace the Byrds as the unofficial house band at Ciro's, a popular club on Sunset Strip. The Leaves released one LP and a handful of singles for the local Mira label, including a fast version of Billy Roberts's Hey Joe that became a national hit. This prompted a move to major label Capitol Records toward the end of 1966. Their first release for Capitol was Lemmon Princess, which came out in early December. The tune, written by Pons, was also included on the band's only Capitol LP, All The Good That's Happening. Stylistically the song was not typical of the Leaves at all; in fact, it would have been right at home on an album by fellow L.A.ins the Turtles. This may have been intentional, since by most accounts the Leaves were already disintegrating even as All The Good That's Happening was being made, and Pons would soon leave the band he founded to guessed it: the Turtles.

Artist:    Tiffany Shade
Title:    A Quiet Revolution
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US on LP: Tiffany Shade)
Writer(s):    Michael Barnes
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    From 1967 through 1970 Bob Shad's Mainstream label released over two dozen rock albums. Most of these albums were by bands that were known only to audiences in their own hometowns. Indeed, most of these albums were highly forgettable. This was due in large part to the fact that Shad would book the absolute minimum amount of studio time required to get an LP's worth of material recorded. This generally meant using the first take of every recording, even if the band felt they could do better if they had a little more time. As a result, most late 60s Mainstream LPs ended up on the budget rack not long after their release, and, at least in some cases, even the band members themselves considered the whole thing a waste of time and effort. Such is the case with Cleveland's Tiffany Shade, which consisted of guitarist/lead vocalist Mike Barnes, keyboardist Bob Leonard, drummer Tom Schuster and bassist Robb Murphy. The group's manager recommended the group to Shad, who booked two eight-hour sessions for the band at the Cleveland Recording Company. Fortunately, the band was better prepared than most of the Mainstream bands, and actually turned out a halfway decent album, thanks in large part to Barnes's talent as a songwriter, which can be heard on tunes like A Quiet Revolution.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Heart Full Of Soul
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Raven (original label: Epic)
Year:    1965
    The Yardbirds' follow-up single to For Your Love, Heart Full Of Soul, was a huge hit, making the top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic in 1965. The song, the first to feature guitarist Jeff Beck prominently, was written by Graham Gouldman, who also wrote For Your Love. For some odd reason Gouldman's own band, the Mockingbirds, was strangely unable to buy a hit on the charts, despite Gouldman's obvious talents as a songwriter. Gouldman would eventually go on to be a founding member of 10cc, who were quite successful in the 1970s.

Artist:    Chocolate Coffee Pot
Title:    Three Food Groups (with excerpts from a conversation with David Gans)
Source:    CD: Chocolate Coffee Pot
Writer(s):    Gans/Brighton/Sylvester/Hampton/Feinstein
Label:    Perfectible
Year:    2016
    Chocolate Coffee Pot is what happens when a bunch of like-minded (and talented) musicians get together and spend some studio time being creative. Three Food Groups, in its original form, runs over 22 minutes. One of these days I'll play it in its entirety, but for this week it serves as a backdrop for excerpts from a recent coversation I had with David Gans about his own syndicated show, the Grateful Dead Hour, and his various endeavors as a musician and former rock music journalist and photographer.

Artist:    David Gans
Title:    Plum Wine/Plum Jam
Source:    CD: You Are Here
Writer(s):    David Gans
Label:    Perfectible
Year:    2015
    In addition to hosting the Grateful Dead Hour for over 30 years, singer/songwriter David Gans is also an accomplished guitarist, and is known in particular for his skill with creating music loops, all of which can be heard on Plum Wine/Plum Jam, from his 2015 album You Are Here.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Here Today
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    Apparently there is a conversation about cameras going on in the background of the instrumental break of Here Today on the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album. I never noticed it. I guess I'll have to listen more closely next time.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    I Know There's An Answer
Source:    CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Sachen
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    One of the first songs recorded for the Pet Sounds album was Hang On To Your Ego, allegedly written by Brian Wilson on his second acid trip. Mike Love objected to some of the lyrics, particularly those of the chorus, and Wilson eventually decided to scrap them and write new ones, this time with the help of the group's road manager, Terry Sachen. The result was I Know There's An Answer.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    God Only Knows
Source:    Mono LP: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Wilson/Asher
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    Possibly the first time a deity appeared in the title of a pop song was the Beach Boys song God Only Knows on the Pet Sounds album. Both Brian and Carl Wilson were going through a spiritual phase and were in the habit of praying for guidance throughout the making of Pet Sounds. The song was released, along with Wouldn't It Be Nice, as a double A sided single a few weeks after the album came out, and both songs made the top 40, although Wouldn't It Be Nice was the bigger hit in the US. In the UK, where Beatle Paul McCartney was enthusiastic in his support of the tune, God Only Knows went all the way to the # 5 slot, considerably higher than in the US.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Paranoid
Source:    LP: Paranoid
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Rhino/Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Although it was the last track recorded for Black Sabbath's second album, Paranoid was actually the first song released from the sessions, appearing as a single about six months after the band's first LP hit the racks. The song, according to bassist Geezer Butler, was recorded as an afterthought, when the band realized they needed a three minute filler piece for the LP. Tony Iommi came up with the basic riff, which Butler quickly wrote lyrics for. Singer Ozzie Osbourne reportedly sang the lyrics directly from the handwritten lyric sheet. Paranoid turned out to be one of Black Sabbath's most popular tunes, and has shown up on several "best of" lists, including VH1's "40 Greatest Metal Songs", where it holds the # 1 spot. In Finland, the song has attained near-legendary status, and the phase "Soittakaa Paranoid!" can often be heard being yelled out from a member of the audience at a rock concert there, regardless of what band is actually on stage (much as "Free Bird" was heard at various concerts in the US throughout the 70s and 80s).

Artist:     Renaissance
Title:     Bullet
Source:     LP: Renaissance
Writer:     Relf/McCarty/Hawken/Cennamo
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1969
     One of the many bands of the mid-70s that incorporated classical and jazz influences, Renaissance is best known for songs such as Northern Lights and Mother Russia. What most people are not aware of, however, is that Renaissance was originally formed by former Yardbirds Keith Relf and Jim McCarty. Although Relf never played guitar onstage with the Yardbirds (understandable given the presence of the like of Clapton, Beck and Page), with Renaissance he showed that he had learned a thing or two from his talented former bandmates. Renaissance in its original incarnation also boasted the presence of an outstanding keyboardist, John Hawken (formerly of the Nashville Teens) and a virtuoso bassist (Louis Cennamo), whose skill on the instrument was on a par with Jefferson Airplane's Jack Cassidy.

Artist:    Finch
Title:    Nothing In The Sun
Source:    CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wylde Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    D. Dougherty
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Montage)
Year:    1968

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Fire
Source:    Dutch import LP: The Singles (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Sometime in late 1966 Jimi Hendrix was visiting his girlfriend's mother's house in London for the first time. It was a cold rainy night and Jimi immediately noticed that there was a dog curled up in front of the fireplace. Jimi's first action was to scoot the dog out of the way so he himself could benefit from the fire's warmth, using the phrase "Move over Rover and let Jimi take over." The phrase got stuck in his head and eventually became the basis for one of his most popular songs. Fire was a highlight of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's live performances, often serving as a set opener. In 1969, two years after its original UK appearance on the mono LP Are You Experienced, the stereo remix of Fire from the US version of the album was issued in the UK, along with a handful of European countries and New Zealand, as a single called Let Me Light Your Fire.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Summertime
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Gershwin/Heyward
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Janis Joplin, on the 1968 Big Brother And The Holding Company album Cheap Thrills, sounds like she was born to sing Gershwin's Summertime. Maybe she was.


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